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AUG 2014 Issue no 156

now, the region’s Best Automotive Resource Automan AUG 2014

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Ferrari California T | Bentley Continental GT3 | Jaguar F-Type Project 7 | Aston Martin Rapide S | Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG | Nissan Vision 2020 concept | Motorsports


COVERstory |

cover story

2014 Ferrari California T

Taste of Maranellos first forced-fed motor car in 25 years

12-17 2014 Ferrari California T

Oman and regional news


6-7 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II arrives in Middle East, refreshed Nissan launched in UAE, key appointments at Volkswagen Middle East office, new managing director for Infiniti Middle East. Sayarti Auto Care new outlet launched in Oman, bigger parts outlet for Mitsubishi motor cars and trucks in Oman, Bank Sohar launches fast track auto financing

2015 lexus nx



8-11 Peugeot RCZ/Hyundai Veloster successor dilemma, fourth generation Mazda Miata confirmed, Dodge unveils most powerful V8 Challenger, Citroen’s newly created luxury brand DS doing very well, 2015 Peugeot 508 revealed with upscale styling, Jaguar F-TYPE Project 7 dynamic debut, BMW confirms Mexico production, Mitsubishi Motors to bail out Chrysler in Mexico, Volkswagen introduces Euro-spec 2015 Passat, Core models of Audi to go hybrid, Beetle Dune Concept green lighted for production, Daimler-Infiniti engine project goes on line, Maserati’s grand business plan

Goodwood Festival of Speed

First drives

20-24 2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG 26-30 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

An annual event not to be missed by petrol heads

exclusive First drive 32-33 2014 Nissan Sunny

International news feature

34-57 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed


New 0-100km /h sub 3.9sec club members





58-59 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 60-62 aguar F-Type Project 7 63 BMW X6 64-66 Bentley Continental GT3 67 Nissan Vision 2020 68-69 2015 Ford Edge

one-off specials

70-71 Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato concept 72 Mini Superleggera


74-75 Hyundai Veloster midship concept


76-79 s014 F1 British GP race report, Sebastien Buemi sets the pace in first Formula E race, Hyundai Rallye Deutschland drivers are ready, Successful debut of Pirelli’s new race tyre, Fernandes sells Caterham Formula 1, Vettel not so sure, moto gp rider Marquez targets nine out of nine


80 Going on a train – boon or bane?

editor-in-chief Mohammad Al Taie

AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING PO Box: 343, Postal Code 118 Al Harthy Complex Sultanate of Oman Email: Website: Editorial office: Tel: +968 24479888 Extn 300, Fax: +968 24479889 Distribution: Tel: +968 24490386, Fax: +968 24121045 Subscription: Tel: +968 24493701, Fax: +968 24121045 publisher Hatim Al Taie

EDITOR & GM Raj Warrior

executive EDITOR Chandan B Mallik contributing EDITOR Anne Kurian HEAD OF Design Antony Karlo photography Elvis John Ferrao marketing Sayantani Ghosh

But then, there also exists the child in all of us here – who, after salivating over the unattainable, wants to let the world know “what a great car that was.” And when, in the span of three months you have two great cars like the new Lamborghini Huracan and the Ferrari California T, you have to admit that things happen for a reason – in this case, to make us happy. The California T brings turbocharging back into Ferrari’s consumer lexicon. It almost seems a mistaken path. Both the Italian brands have eschewed boost in the past, largely because their naturally aspirated engines were peerless. In a discussion we had with Rafaello Porro, Lamborghini’s director for development, he had flatly refused to consider turbocharging. But that was five years ago. In our latest conversation he clarified saying that the regulatory environment had changed, the need for efficiency had changed and so too had the market. So ‘never’ is now a maybe. It was a bit of surprise to see that Ferrari was the more adventurous of the two brands, but then Maserati uses turbocharged engines. But it wasn’t a given, considering the rigorous parameters that Ferrari sets itself. Read our cover story to find out exactly how brilliant the car is now – complete with redesigned body, new systems and electronics and much faster responses.

circulation FINANCE & ADMIN Sumy Mol

We may have pointed this out before – this year is turning out to be a year of new sports, performance and luxury cars. If you track from the year’s outset, we’ve featured one stunning vehicle after another as our main cover story. We are usually more balanced in our approach – after all, Automan is a mainstream automotive magazine with the onus of helping you decide on the next car you will buy. And we know that not all of us can afford some of these mouth-watering sports cars.

Website & IT Mohammed F Draz Printer Ruwi Modern Printers LLC, Muscat Tel: +968 2479 4167, 2479 8157 Fax: +968 2470 0545 © 2014 All editorial content of Automan in the magazine and its website is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the management of AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING Automan accepts unsolicited exclusive editorial material, but reserves the right to publish any such material. Once published, the copyright for any such material will vest with AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING

On the other hand – for the regular Joe – we bring an first drive of the new Nissan Sunny from our contributors from India, where the car is built. No one in the region has driven it at the time of going to press, so that’s an exclusive of sorts. Another exclusive is our editor’s visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which serves not to just showcase new cars, but connects with the history and spirit of brands, especially those that have a strong connect with the United Kingdom. Again, it’s not just exclusive, it is the most comprehensive reort you will read in the region. So stay tuned for another great month of our brand of motoring at Automan.

Now, Automan is available in bookshops in the United Arab Emirates too! Get your copy or let us know which outlets you would like to see us in

Oman & region news

Rolls-Royce introduces 2014 Ghost Series II Abu Dhabi Motors, the sole dealer of RollsRoyce Motor Cars in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are the first retailers to introduce the 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II in the region. The subtle re-design of the popular Ghost family sees understated exterior changes coupled with the latest in industry-leading connectivity technology. “Ghost Series II is the latest iteration of the celebrated Rolls-Royce Ghost Collection,” said Arno Husselmann, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Motors. “The Ghost Series II promises uncompromising control of the road thanks to precise and innovative engineering - driving it is an effortless experience. Every detail has been designed to create a dynamic feel and we are honoured to be the first dealer in the Middle East to share this masterpiece of modern engineering with our esteemed clients,” Changes to the Ghost Series II begin in the front, where re-sculpted LED headlights encircled by daytime running lights lend the vehicle a more striking aesthetic. A tapered ‘wake channel’ on the bonnet,

Continental to sponsor Asian Cup 2015

German tyre brand Continental has signed an agreement with the Asian Football Confederation to become the exclusive tyre partner and official sponsor of the Asian Cup 2015. The tournament will be held in Australia in January next year and will see Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and other top teams from around the continent, compete to become champions of Asia. Dirk Rockendorf, Head of Marketing, Continental Middle East& North Africa, said: “Football is the world’s largest participation sport and especially fast-growing in the Middle East, and the Asian Cup 2015 offers the perfect platform for football talent from the Middle East to showcase their skills.”

emanating from the Spirit of Ecstasy, evokes the sight of a jet’s vapour trail or wake of a fast luxury yacht and hints at the car’s dynamism. Subtle re-sculpting of Ghost’s bumpers creates a stronger stance and a sense of extra width and height, whilst the contemporary design is further enhanced with the addition of chrome inserts to the front air intakes, which now feed more air cooling to the front brakes. In addition, the famous waft line has been re-designed on Ghost Series II to lean further forwards. While powertrain remains unchanged, the handling section of the car sees some revisions. Customers can specify a Dynamic Driving Package for the Ghost Series II that offers a more involving driving experience with no compromise to ride quality. It uses redesigned front and rear struts married to new steering gear and adjusted dampers significantly increase Ghost Series II’s cornering ability, whilst enhanced feedback levels are expected to be felt through a thicker steering wheel.

Heritage welcomes refreshed for 2015 Nissan Sunny

The original Sunny was launched in the Middle East under Datsun brand in 1966 and is part of the Nissan and the Regional Automotive Heritage across its ten generations. Sunny is one of the top selling models in the region. The 2015 Sunny builds on this solid foundation and strengthens Nissan’s presence in the increasingly popular B-sedan segment. “The Middle East is a key market for Nissan and the Sunny in particular is one of our top selling models in the region and contributes to around 15 per cent of our total sales. We expect this model to make a notable impact on our growth, doubling its sales volumes by FY16,” said Samir Cherfan, Managing Director at Nissan Middle East, during the launch event in Dubai. The incoming Sunny will be offered with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and includes four spec variants with prices starting at $ 12,380 and will be available from all Nissan dealerships across the region from August 01. [Eds note: see first ME drive report on page 32]

Infiniti ME appointment

Infiniti has moved forward with its implementation of an ambitious global plan which began in 2012. And to strengthen the regional operations, Juergen Schmitz has been appointed as Infiniti Middle East’s first Managing Director. Schmitz is expected to give Infiniti a sharper structural focus on the premium segment of the business and enhance the brand’s distinct identity in the Middle East. Schmitz will assume his new responsibilities with immediate effect, and report to François Goupil de Bouillé, Vice President, Infiniti Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Said Schmitz on his new role: “Infiniti is entering a new era and I’m fortunate to be leading the brand in the Middle East. Globally, Infiniti has its third largest

market share here, which we and our partners plan to substantially increase in the coming years. I am committed to realising those ambitions while continuing to deliver our premium brand promise to our highly-valued customers.” Schmitz has served Infiniti in the Middle East as General Manager in 2011 and was previously Regional Director, Infiniti Central Europe.

The new Sunny was also launched in Oman also

what’s hot, what’s not

On June 26th 2014, Infiniti began assembly at the Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Plant, a collaboration between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG. The first engine to be assembled at the all-new facility is a 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline 4-cylinder developed by Daimler. The engines will initially be used in European versions of the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class assembled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


Automan’s take

Dodge unveils most powerful V8 Challenger Automan’s take

fter China-based Dongfeng and the French government each injected $1.16bn into PSA Peugeot-Citroen, the group had announced a new strategic plan called “Back in the Race”. According to this plan, PSA has to reduce the number of models it offers from 45 at the present time to 26 by 2022. As a result of this directive, the fate of low volume models like the RCZ was not so clear. Peugeot introduced its 308-based RCZ in 2011 and it was positioned as an upscale sports car with unique design that boasts immaculate styling and features. In its career till now, the RCZ has also seen some new derivatives being added to this car line-up. The good news now is that the halo model will not be discontinued. Peugeot CEO Maxime Picat has confirmed the company has made plans for a second generation of the Peugeot RCZ coupe. Picat told reporters in Holland that the company would develop a new RCZ because the sporting coupe was important for the brand’s image. Hyundai Motors is debating whether to continue with the controversial Veloster three-door coupe/hatchback for its second generation. The Veloster was launched in 2012 and a facelifted model is expected to hit markets sometime within the next year or so. While Middle East is one of the more popular destinations for the distinctive small car, sales have not lived up to expectations in key overseas markets including South Korea, the US and Europe. Only about 60,000 units were sold worldwide last year – its second full year of availability – with fewer than 3,000 units finding buyers in the domestic market.

There had been some doubt about the future of the RCZ after the parent company, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, was rescued by Chinese automaker Dongfeng and the French government earlier this year.

The all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT, with its supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat engine, produces an unprecedented 707hp and 650lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful Challenger ever, Dodge’s most powerful V8 ever and the most powerful muscle car ever. The Challenger’s new 6.2-liter Supercharged Hellcat engine is also the first factory supercharged HEMI, as well as Dodge and SRT’s first application of V8 supercharger technology. For the first time in Chrysler Group history, the all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with a Hellcat engine comes standard with

two key fobs -- red and black. The red key fob is the only key that can unlock the full 707hp and torque potential of the Challenger SRT Hellcat engine; while the black key fob limits the driver to a reduced engine output of 500hp. Dodge says that the Challenger SRT Hellcat has been redesigned and totally re-engineered to be the most true-toform muscle coupe on the market with performance-enhancing technologies inside and out. The car gets a new TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-new interior inspired by the classic 1971 Challenger.

Unlike the French volume brand Peugeot, Hyundai seems to be caught in the crossroads. On one hand it is trying to remain a volume seller and also go upmarket with its ‘more value for money’ proposition, Hyundai has to remember that its ‘premium brand aspirations’ cannot be met if it decides to discontinue low volume halo models.

Presiding over the opening celebration were Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Infiniti Motor Company President Johan de Nysschen, Infiniti Americas Vice President Michael Bartsch, Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Operations and Battery Plant Vice President Gary Edwards and Erhard Schletterer, Director Engine Production Mercedes-Benz.

Maserati’s grand plan

Fourth generation Mazda Miata confirmed Officially confirmed as a 2016 model, the all-new MX-5 coyly made an initial debut at this year’s New York International Auto Show in the form of an exposed SKYACTIVchassis. As the fourth chapter of the nextgeneration roadster has been confirmed, it will be unveiled simultaneously in Japan, Spain and the United States on September 3. “We’re excited to make this official, to announce that the newest member of the MX-5 Miata family will be arriving soon,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “Along with our colleagues around the world, we continue to celebrate the MX-5’s 25th anniversary and look forward to sharing even more news in the near future.”

2015 Peugeot 508 revealed with upscale styling

The outgoing Miata

Looking more upscale than its predecessor, the facelifted model follows in the footsteps of the 108 and 308. As a result, the car has been equipped with a smaller grille, restyled LED headlights and a flatter hood. Out back, the changes are less noticeable but include a new rear bumper and restyled taillights. The cabin is instantly recognizable but it features higher quality materials and a new centerconsole storage box. There’s also a 7-inch touchscreen display with access to Peugeot Connect Apps which can provide everything from weather forecasts to information about nearby

parking spaces. Other notable highlights include a four-zone climate control system, a JBL audio system and a headsup display. There are also two new options including a rearview camera and a blind spot monitoring system. Under the bonnet, depending on market, two new engines will be available. On the petrol side, there’s a 1.6-liter THP 165 with start / stop technology. Those looking for something more fuel efficient can opt for the new 2.0-liter BlueHDi 180. The 2015 Peugeot 508 will be launched in Europe on September 10th. The model will also be offered in China and sales are slated to begin in January 2015.

The decision to aggressively expand the Maserati brand worldwide was announced in May as part of Fiat-Chrysler’s five-year plan. Between now and 2019 Maserati will roll out seven new models. Following the redesigned Quattroporte and the all-new Ghibli, Levant and Alfieri will be a new GranTurismo four-seater coupe in 2017, a cabriolet version of the Alfieri in 2018 and a new GranCabrio fourseater convertible in 2019.

BMW confirms Mexico production

The BMW Group officially confirmed it will build a new plant in Mexico near the city of San Luis Potosi with an investment of $1bn. Production is planned to start in 2019 and the carmaker will announce which BMW models will be built at the new location at a later date. BMW has been building cars in its US plant in Spartanburg for the past 20 years.


Daimler-Infiniti engine project goes on line


Successor dilemma

Volkswagen introduces Euro-spec 2015 Passat Volkswagen has published a full set of details about the European-spec 2015 Passat that is scheduled to debut at the Paris Motor Show this coming October. As expected, the eighth-generation Passat gets a more dynamic-looking design that borrows styling cues such a narrow three-slat radiator grille, a rippled hood and angular headlights from recent Volkswagen concepts like the T-Roc and the NMC. The next Passat is lighter than the current model thanks to the use of lightweight materials such as aluminum and high-strength steel. Although it is slightly smaller than the current model in all directions, clever packaging and a longer wheelbase allow it to offer a more spacious cockpit and

Jaguar F-TYPE Project 7 dynamic debut

Following the static unveil at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last month, Jaguar chose a perfect occasion and venue for the dynamic outing of the F-TYPE Project 7. In celebration of the Jaguar D-type’s 60th anniversary – a car which won at Le Mans three times and which inspired Project 7’s genesis – F-TYPE Project 7 completed its demonstration laps throughout the Le Mans Classic weekend at the alongside the very first D-type ever built, and with several examples of the all-new F-TYPE R Coupé.

Audi is reportedly aiming to introduce plug-in hybrid versions of all core models within five years. The company’s researchand-development head, Ulrich Hackenberg, suggests upcoming plug-in hybrid models built upon the MQB platform will integrate an electric motor between the 1.4-litre TFSI engine and the gearbox. The approach will essentially follow the path being led by the A3 Sportback E-tron, which gets half of its 201hpr rating from an electric motor. Hackenberg argues that plug-in hybrid powertrains “meet all of our customers’ expectations” and will be given top priority for future development. Engineers are also working on a hybrid all-wheel-drive system for the MQB platform, relocating the electric motor to help directly drive the rear axle. The larger MLB-Evo platform is also expected to be outfitted with a similar system, though the company is still considering a plug-in hybrid with a mechanically driven rear axle.

Automan’s take

Chrysler has had a long history of selling rebadged Mitsubishi products in North America, starting with the Dodge Colt series (actually RWD Mitsubishi Galants) in the US market in 1970.

Citroen’s newly created luxury brand DS doing very well Beetle Dune Concept green lighted for production Volkswagen has confirmed the Beetle Dune Concept that bowed earlier this year at the Detroit Motor Show. A recent video published by the Wolfsburgbased automaker revealed the Beetle Dune is planned for showroom launch in 2016 at the earliest. This means, the Dune treatment will be offered on both the standard Beetle and the Beetle Convertible.

DS has just celebrated two years in China – the world’s biggest car market – with a special event at DS World in Shanghai for customers, distributors, journalists, partners and brand representatives. The DS brand was launched in Beijing on 28 June 2012 with a range consisting of

Automan’s take

Core models of Audi to go hybrid

a bigger trunk. Inside, the Passat moves up a notch on the market thanks to noticeably improved materials and more high-tech equipment. Tech-conscious buyers will be able to order the Passat with a wide array of electronic driving aids including Side Assist with Rear Traffic Assist, Trailer Assist, Front Assist System with Emergency Braking as well as Traffic Jam Assist. Finally, the Passat can park itself when ordered with an optional new function called Park Assist. Buyers will be asked to choose between ten gasolineand diesel-burning engines whose outputs range from 118 to 276hp via DSG transmission. All engines come standard with a start/stop system.

imported DS 5 and DS 4 models. This was followed by the introduction of DS 3 in September 2012. The event saw the delivery of a DS 5LS to the 10,000th DS customer, the launch of a new DS Club and the reveal of the DS 6WR’s interior. DS 6WR is the brand’s first premium SUV, which will be launched in September 2014. DS now markets a range of four models including two cars that are produced locally at the Shenzhen plant. The two locally manufactured cars are DS 5, launched in September 2013, and DS 5LS, introduced in March 2014. With the launch of the DS 6WR in the autumn, it now markets three locally-produced models – a feat achieved in just one year.

Citroën previewed the DS 6WR at last April’s Beijing Motor Show. It has been designed to boost the firm’s presence in China, is boldly aimed at the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. The DS 6WR will be built in Shenzhen, China, and sold exclusively on the local market where DS-badged cars are distributed in standalone showrooms. No details on international launch have been made.

More awards for Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque has become unstoppable – at least when it comes to bagging awards. The stylish CUV has won three more awards, taking its global haul of accolades to a total of 161 in just over three years. Already widely acclaimed by journalists, critics and owners, the most recent successes have come from the readers of key global titles. In one recent survey the Evoque scored a near-perfect 94 per cent when participants were asked to rate their cars’ audio and entertainment systems as well as other technology, such as phone connectivity and the userfriendliness of on-board computers.


Chrysler de Mexico has said that it will start selling cars in the lucrative B segment. Mexico’s B segment sales comprised nearly one quarter of all the country’s new car transactions in 2013. Since its current portfolio lacks a suitable model, the group has approached Mitsubishi Motors Corporation for its Mitsubishi Mirage G4 model. In the US, Mitsubishi is concentrating on plug-in hybrids and has said that it will not sell the Mirage in Mexico under its brand name. Mitsubishi has said it would not sell the Mirage G4 in the US, but it will be offered in Canada. In Canada, the Mirage will be sold with the same 1.2-litre, 74hp threecylinder that powers the US-spec Mirage hatchback. It has also been reported that in China the Chrysler version would be slightly altered for a more upscale feel, it’s not known if that would be the case in Mexico. Sales of the new Chrysler badge Mitsubishi sedan will begin as early as November 2014.


Mitsubishi Motors to bail out Chrysler in Mexico

2014 Ferrari Califorinia T

Automotive Pure

The next generation of Ferrari’s smaller GT offering – the California T – ticks a new set of boxes, while setting your nerves on fire. Automan tested the car in the sylvan surroundings of Tuscany. Author: Raj Warrior


he last time we were in a Ferrari California was on the then newly built highway running between some points in Sharjah over to Kalba. Multi-lane with no speed cameras in place. And the reins of a really fast car at hand. Can we describe the joy of pushing a Ferrari in a drag race with a German car that just had to try to get ahead? If it wasn’t for that fact that we eventually hit civilisation we may have even tried the top speed of the car. But the lesson learnt during that test was that the California was really different. It is a tough act to follow, even for manufacturer Ferrari. It was the first time that a V8 engine was being offered in a mid-front configuration, complete with fold-down rigid roof and the by-now standard 7-speed double clutch gearbox. While clothed as a GT car, the California shares a platform with the almost vicious performance of the 458. And it too does the zero to whatever in almost nothing bit. So why then did we go out of our way to say that the California wasn’t a girl’s car? It was because the California brought Ferrari into a new market segment and the combination of everyday practicality, good city manners, a problem-free retracting roof and the Ferrari badge made it a car for a new breed of customer. Nothing’s changed over the years since – the new breed of customer continues to look for the combination and the California has been an outstanding success for the brand. So when they came up with the new model it had to build on all the virtues while laying out a new equation in terms of desirability. Have they done it? To find out, we flew out to Tuscany as guests of Ferrari, to check out the car and meet the people behind the brand. The new California does not seem remarkably different. Not at first glance. It still is an all-aluminium platform. Do a double take and you realise that a lot has changed. The outer skin is all-new, there are convex surfaces where you saw concave before, the headlight assembly is now very FF and F12ish and even the grille has been reshaped. The taillights, similarly have gone a touch more aggressive along with the use of LEDs. The switch between yesterday and today has been managed beautifully – so much so that the California no longer seems an upstart, blending in nicely with Ferrari’s model range and history, with touches of the 250 Testa Rossa about its flanks. But this is only the icing on the cake that you are served by the new engine. For those who would still ask – the T stands for turbo and that itself seems highly evolutionary for Ferrari. However, that’s

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS ENGINE Type Bore and stroke Unit displacement Total displacement Compression ratio Maximum power * Maximum torque *

direct-injection 90° V8 86,5 x 82 mm (3.41 in x 3.23 in) 482 cm3 (29.4 cu in) 3,855 cm3 (235.25 cu in) 9,4:1 412 kW (560 cv) at 7500 rpm 755 Nm (77 kgm / 557 lbft) at 4750 rpm in VII gear

DIMENSIONS ANDWEIGHT Length Width Height Wheelbase Front track Rear track Dry weight** Peso in ordine di marcia** Weight distribution Fuel tank capacity Boot\Trunk capacity

4570 mm (179.9 in) 1910 mm (75.2 in) 1322 mm (52.0 in) 2670 mm (105.1 in) 1630 mm (64.2 in) 1605 mm (63.2 in) 1625 kg (3582 lb) 1730 kg (3813 lb) 47% front - 53% rear 78 l (20.6 US gal / 17.3 UK gal) 340 l, 240 l (12 cu ft, 8.5 cu ft)

PERFORMANCE Top speed 0-100 km/h 0-200 Km/h Weight/power ratio

316 km/h (196 mph) 3.6 s 11,2 s 2,9 kg/cv (8.69 lb/kw)

TYRES Front Rear Front (opt) Rear (opt)

245/40 ZR19” 285/40 ZR19” 245/35 ZR20” 285/35 ZR20”

CCM3 BRAKES Front Rear

390 x 34 mm (15.4 x 1.34 in) 360 x 32 mm (14.2 x 1.26 in)

ELECTRONICS ESC with F1-Trac system (Control for Stability and Traction)

GEARBOX F1, dual clutch 7 gears + Reverse

SUSPENSIONS Front: double wishbone Rear: Multilink

not really the case, for the brand has broad exposure to the use of turbos in F1 racing. It has been some time since they placed a turbo in a regular car and the intervening years have brought with them a huge change in turbo reliability and efficiency, especially with the ability to fine-tune the boost to match the required output. That single feature is what has made the presence of a turbo both desirable and tolerated at once. The 4.3-litre V8 engine of the outgoing car has been downsized to 3.9-litres, with some of the engine production processes being shared with the new 3.6-litre V8 that is appearing in the Maserati line-up. Ferrari has gone to great lengths to keep the two engines different, although it makes both. In the case of the Ferrari engine, the most important difference is in its ability to rev and its focus on delivering power as opposed to the push on the mid-range in the sister engine. Of course, the downsizing itself has been brought about by the need for better fuel

efficiency. The gearbox and its ratios that offer rather tall spacings from the 4th gear upwards, with a huge jump up from 6th to 7th mirror that ideology. Put the gearbox in full auto, in comfort mode and you would think that the car has gone all green and tree hugging by the alacrity with which it jumps up to 7th gear. But that’s only if you let it. Remember it’s a Ferrari and you don’t go and do things like shaving weight off the flat-plane crankshafts, offering equallength exhaust pipes, using twin-scroll turbos and adding in a variable torque delivery system unless you mean to stay on top of the performance graph. The excellence of this engine comes from the way in which it uses turbocharging while behaving like a naturally aspirated engine. Well, almost! The equal length exhaust piping is to keep the purity of the engine sound, with a rather elaborate branch down into the turbo. The entire assembly is cast in three sections, welded together and then finished. In the bargain the engine now sits lower than before,

offering a better CG on the whole as well as maintaining the ideal 47:53 front-rear weight split. With 560PS on offer and a turbo-assisted jump in torque to 755Nm, the end result is an engine that is as much at home on a track car as it is in the shell of this GT. But the cold, hard numbers don’t quite say the story of what else the engine offers. Variable torque delivery means that maximum torque is on tap only when the car is in the seventh gear. What this does is compensate for the gear’s tallness, in a larger but similar measure to what it does in the 5th and 6th gear. If you then averaged the torque curve on the gear tipping points you get a curve closer to what you would get in a much larger naturally aspirated engine. The sound of the engine has also been kept close to the pure ideal by carefully mapping the equallength pipes as well. We spent an evening talking to one of the development drivers, who talked us through the months of fine-tuning that saw him repeatedly put the test mules in

harm’s way on the tight confines of a twolane Italian arterial road, pushing out in front of oncoming trucks just to see how the turbo responded to the pedal. Power had to be available instantly, without the typical turbo lag and when you actually drive the car you realise that the engineers have won. Take the car out on the twisty roads of Tuscany and you really need all the responsiveness of the new engine. The chassis engineering is perfect – use the car’s manettino and put it in sport mode and the new generation of magnahelic ride control stiffens up the suspension to just the right degree. Pop the paddles to take the car out of auto and you have a beast that is chafing to run. Third gear has a range to it that seem like you wouldn’t need to shift out of it, until you hit a hairpin on a climbing road and then just love jumping into second. You can safely floor the accelerator, move between second, third and fourth and never have to stray into the higher ‘efficiency’ gearing. The engine revs seamlessly all throughout, you have to really be hunting for the turbo’s bark to notice it at all and the wheels stay firmly glued to the lane you are in – while you can induce tail sliding whenever you want.

And the sweet sound of a high-revving Ferrari engine is your partner all the way along the drive. You barely notice the wind noise of the open-roof experience as the throaty growl rises and fades in tandem with your foot’s pressure downwards. The 200 mark rushes by in a blur – with a top speed of 316 km/h that bit happens rather frequently. And even the narrow roads can’t slow you down – on more than one occasion we did the overtake manoeuvre that the Ferrari driver told us about, sprinting out into the opposite lane and quickly getting back ahead before the oncoming traffic hit us. Among all the headlight flashing and honks we are sure there were some just to say “wow, that’s a great car you are driving!” Anyway, that’s our take on it. The Calfornia really is a great car now – not just because of its engine. Redesigned interiors, a new interface, larger display screens, better seats and a new steering wheel all go towards pushing the California to the top of the heap. What keeps it there are all the Ferrari touches – like the no compromise handling, keenly tuned response, amazing gearbox and the presence of launch control – just in case! Now if only, we could win the California millions lottery, or even just the Muscat version to pay for the car.


2014 Mercedes Benz A45 AMG

Genuine performance in compact packaging Make no mistake out here: the 2014 Mercedes Benz A45 AMG isn’t just a hatchback with a smart appearance package. Automan discovered it true performance colours in UAE Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Nabeel Ferzan

he hatchback market in the region is beginning to show some signs of maturity and innovative carmakers are now confident enough in introducing hot versions. AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz has given us an incredibly array of V8/V12powered sedans, SUVs and sports cars to enjoy, this is the first time an entry level hatchback gets the fabled badging. While AMG has a lot of experience in doing bigger vehicles, it took over two years to perfect the A-Class based derivative which was first presented to the world officially at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show as the A45 AMG. In terms of marketing and positioning, the A45 AMG allows access to a new genre of customer [younger mostly] who have hitherto been denied access to the high-priced, usually V8-powered cars till now. The difference between the A45 AMG and a standard A-Class is not just limited to cosmetics otherwise it would have been an A-Class with an ‘AMG Appearance Package’. At first glance as expected when compared to the stock A-Class, the A45 is more muscular and

the front end is signed off by the AMG “twin blade” radiator grille and the cross strut in the AMG front apron which are painted in matt titanium grey. Better engine cooling is ensured by large air intakes placed on the car’s side, while the side sills are also painted matte titanium grey. For the rear, Mercedes installed a rear apron with highlighted air outlet openings on the sides, a matte grey diffuser and, of course, the AMG sports exhaust system with two square, chrome-plated tailpipes. Our test car came with rear aerofoil, additional flics in front apron and larger front splitter which comes as part of the AMG Aerodynamics package. Inside the cabin, there’s a mix of the A-Class and AMG features. Our test car came with form-fitting seats sports seats in DINAMICA microfiber with red contrasting top-stitching [ARTICO manmade leather also offered]. There multifunctional steering wheel comes with shift paddles, and the dashboard s generously trimmed in carbon fibre with five contrasting air vents in black/red and an AMG instrument cluster. A tablet type

LCD screen is fixed in the upper dash. The base of the central console is where you get to see the AMG hardware by which we are referring to the AMG Drive Unit switch. While, the flat bottomed steering wheel is carried over from the regular A-Class, the most noticeable change is that the gear selector now migrates from its steering column stalk to the base of the central console. Put together, sophisticated materials, ambient mood lighting and contrast stitching blend well into an already high level of build quality. Under the bonnet, well, for starters, let the numbers not fool you. The A45 may sound suggestive of something bigger in terms of displacement or cylinders, but the truth is that it’s not. It is a trendy example of exemplary engineering where downsized lightweight hardware these days outclass the older, heavier ones without sacrificing on performance or efficiency. Thus, this car gets a highperformance 2.0-litre turbocharged fourcylinder engine that delivers a total of 360hp and a peak torque of 331lbs-ft. This amount of power is enough to sprint the

car from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6secs and up to a top speed of 250km/h. Mercedes also claims there’s Eco software built in helping deliver fuel economy of 34mpg. Technically, the A45 AMG gets the most powerful series production 2.0-litre engine hand-built according to the traditional AMG philosophy of “one man, one engine”. With its specific power output of 181hp/litre it outclasses the Porsche 911 GT2 RS’s 172.2hp/ litre and it’s interesting to learn some of the secrets that have helped AMG reach these levels of power density. For starters, it uses a twin-scroll turbocharger, maximum derestriction of the exhaust system, multiple sparks, innovative multiple fuel injection strategy besides a highly effective cooling system inspired by the SLS AMG and special bearings and specially forged pistons capable of handling high internal pressures akin to those found in a diesel engine. This cooling system includes a large section at the front level and is combined with an additional cooler in the wheel arch. A high-performance electric pump takes care of the fluid movement. In addition, the SLK 55 AMG sports exhaust system used out here features large pipe cross-sections and an automatically controlled exhaust flap.

The engine is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission that helps send the engine’s power to the all four wheels via Mercedes’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. Depending on mode and demands it can shift torque between front and rear wheels up to 50 per cent. The chassis in this car has been endowed with a good amount of flexibility befitting any AMG product. Up front, the A45 retains the A-class’s MacPherson strut suspension set-up but is fitted with stiffer steering knuckles and changes to bushings, springs and dampers. At the rear, the multi-link suspension is more heavily revised – including becoming rigidly attached to the body via subframe to provide greater precision and stiffness. Connecting the car to the asphalt are as standard with twin-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels, painted in titanium grey with a high-sheen finish, fitted with 235/40 R 18 tyres. Braking is by ventilated and crossdrilled disc brakes all round. There’s no ceramic option and the tested had calipers painted in red matching the other trim of the car.

The A45 AMG is the most powerful series production car powered by a 2.0-litre engine. Its specific power output is roughly 181hp/litre, which outclasses the Porsche 911 GT2 RS’s 172.2hp/ litre

Driving impressions One of the nice things about this car

is that it connects immediately with the driver and is willing to perform on demand. The more you drive this car and spend time with it, the more it becomes clear of its connection with AMG. Initially, when you take out the car on a typical city drive, you can feel the commonality with other four-cylinder Mercedes siblings. The exhaust note is quite normal, but when you leave the restricted city speeds and dig deeper into the throttle, the 2.0-litre engine begins to rev higher and along with its superb chassis and suspension set-up signals the driver that it has come alive. You can thump out the car in a turn and it will willingly oblige by pulling strongly and surprisingly, without any of the torque steer one expects from small and powerful front- wheel drive cars. This is where AMG engineering comes in. We agree with the idea to adopt an AWD configuration for the A45 otherwise this car would have behaved like the superb, yet unpredictable Ford Focus ST! The ST has so much torque steer that it can be difficult and dangerous to control, especially by novice drivers. On the A45, power distribution between the two axles is handled by an electronically activated multiplate clutch and the way power is distributed on the fly shows the level of flexibility provided in the car. In normal driving, the car uses is essentially a front-wheel drive [in the interests of optimum efficiency]. When performance is demanded, the all-wheel drive can split the torque between front and rear axles up to a ratio of 50:50. That’s not all, along the variables influencing the

The ECO start/stop function is also active in “C” mode

power distribution ratio are vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering angle, speed difference between the individual wheels, selected gear and accelerator position. While the A45AMG is a hatch, there are several similarities with the SLS AMG. First one that is noted is its seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT dual-clutch gearbox. No wonder, this hardware is used to cope with the enormous power and torque of the A45 AMG engine. And then as per AMG fashion, the A45 comes with the AMG Drive Unit. This software driven set-up allows the driver to choose from different driving modes. In Normal mode, gear changes are smooth and seamless. In Sport, the programme noticeably quickens the swaps. But it’s in the Sport Plus mode, which should give enthusiastic drivers maximum satisfaction as it delivers competition-grade downshifts and

simultaneously performs matched-rev throttle blips to keep the car composed during serious driving. Aside from the stability benefits, the blip-throttle sounds are thoroughly entertaining. Also entertaining is the non-fussy feature called “Momentary M mode”. Actually, what it does is in C and S mode allows the driver to activate manual mode (“M”) without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel, by simply pressing the “up” or “down” shift paddle once. This means in this temporarily override mode the driver is able to shift gear manually [despite being in any of the automatic driving programmes] with automatic up- and down-shifting into the bargain. We also note that the gear shift times in manual mode “M” and in Sport mode “S” are very closed to those of the SLS AMG GT. Interestingly, the ECO start/ stop function is also active in “C” mode. The chassis set-up in this car is extremely fine tuned. You can toss this compact hatch through tight corners, take

The MercedesBenz A45 AMG is representative of the “AMG Performance 50” strategy for the future, which is to run up to the 50th birthday of Mercedes-AMG GmbH in 2017

advantage of its super sharp and responsive steering, crisp throttle response, and neutral balance even at very high cornering speeds. Hard braking, turning the car into the corner, and downshifting all at the same time do nothing to upset the car. Verdict For the first time in the company’s history extending back over more than 45 years, Mercedes-Benz’s performance brand is offering a genuine high-performance vehicle in the compact class. Touted as the most affordable AMG on sale in the region, the A45 AMG aims to not only compete with similar models from compatriots BMW and Audi, but to completely annihilate them with its superior performance capabilities.

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

stylish Corporate bruiser A

The new 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S makes its debut with yet more luxury and power in its quintessentially elegant four-door coupe silhouette. Automan checks out the car in UAE Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Author and Nabeel Ferzan

nother concept to reality accomplished successfully by UK Gaydon-based Aston Martin. First seen as a concept back in 2006, many in the business thought that a production Rapide would never see the day. Well it did and the good news is that it is ready for its second career innings. In terms of product positioning, the incoming Rapide S replaces the outgoing Rapide in markets worldwide. It may be remembered that Aston Martin conceived the Rapide and presented it around the same time when Porsche was looking at the Panamera. This was in the year 2010 and till then the four-door sports sedan segment was uncharted territory for both sports car makers. However, common to both brands was the desire to set off a trend of coupestyled four-door sedans. In that respect, the Aston Martin’s Rapide overtook the Porsche in terms of design purity as the latter was trying to create a booted

version of a 911. However, if one looks at the career graph and subsequent developments of these coupe-styled sedans in their generation one avatars, then the winner of this Britain vs Germany game is arguably Porsche which has been able to dig in the deep pockets of its parent group and come up with hybrid, diesel and performance Panamera variants. While Porsche has taken a diverse engineering approach in its sedan offerings, Aston’s approach has been somewhat conservative. But being conservative doesn’t necessarily mean losing out in the game as it banks on heritage. The simplest way of describing the Rapide S is that it is essentially a DB9 with more distance between the wheel axles. As of now Aston Martin hasn’t invested in any direct replacement architecture for its aging VH platform but says that several modifications have been made to qualify it as Gen IV and still be

useful. The current VH platform on which the Rapide is built utilizes an extrudedaluminum bonded to an aluminium and composite skin so it’s not completely outdated and also means that the Rapide S has similar construction as in Aston’s other sports cars. In profile, the incoming car is similar to its predecessor, but a new face, in particular a new grille design announces its arrival. The car’s revised front end design is matched at the rear by a striking new rear end profile which includes a more pronounced boot lid ‘flip’. As before, the front doors open at about a 15-degree upward angle and the brutally raked windscreen has ensured the front doors are smaller and one has to be extra careful while getting in or out of the car. And for those who are familiar with Aston Martin cabins, the interior execution of this car will evoke mixed feelings. This is because of this mix ‘n’ match approach of doing things. On

one hand, one salutes the craftsmanship of this car, especially when it comes to expertise of saddlers which is obvious from detailing of things like the hide strap with a weapon-like metal knuckle which hangs against the B-pillar to the carryover dashboard with its dismal and unpractical layout and equipment. The least we were expecting Aston’s designers to look at the cluttered central console, solve the awkward positioning of the display screen and at least put the switches in some order by grouping functions and introduce contemporary solutions like a single point controller. The central console is so cluttered that there was no space for the petrol cap release which has been unusually and inconveniently placed under the dash on the A-pillar. Apart from the ergonomic niggles, it’s difficult to find a surface inside the car that’s not covered in velvety-soft, impeccably stitched leather, while exotic natural materials like genuine wood veneer are used to fill in the blanks. The metal finish gauges are now standard and some may find it amusing to see the dial indicators for the speedometer and tachometer rotating in opposite directions. Meanwhile, paddle shifters are

fixed to the steering column. The driver’s seat is sculpted and comfortable. While there’s ample legroom and headroom for taller drivers up front, however, the low-slung seating position and coupe like greenhouse feel ensure that it feels more like a sports car than a traditional sedan. Outward vision is terrible, especially for shorter drivers. The rear seat certainly offers more space than the DB9, but the Porsche Panamera in this respect would feel like a stretched limousine. Another design hurdle which Aston hasn’t been able to overcome: creating more hip room by narrowing the transaxle’s wide tunnel. In terms of practicality, luggage space starts out at 317 litres but grows to 886 litres when the back seats are folded down. And unlike traditional sedans with rear bulkheads, the way the folded seatbacks are finished and how they release and gently fall into place is unique and interesting. Under the car’s long bonnet, for the Rapide S, Aston Martin has uprated the AM11 naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 powerplant to deliver unprecedented power and improved in-gear acceleration.

First seen as a concept back in 2006, the Rapide is an uncompromised sculpture. It’s a dramatic car, with a. You sit so much inside that it’s impossible for shorter drivers to see some overhead traffic lights from the driver’s seat

Power is up by 17 per cent to 550hp and peak torque increases, too, up from 600Nm to 620Nm at 5,000 rpm. Meanwhile an even more marked improvement in torque occurs lower down the rev range, as pulling power rises by more than 40Nm between idle and 4,000 rpm with an additional 50Nm available at 2,500 rpm. The car also benefits from the new ZF 8-speed transmission. Dual variable camshaft timing, knock sensing, even the fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system are developments derived directly from Aston Martin Racing’s WEC GT campaign to help maximise performance and efficiency. Meanwhile, the engine has been lowered by 19mm versus the position of the powerplant in the previous car, with a corresponding reduction in the sports car’s centre of gravity. For handling flexibility, there’s adaptive damping which can be dialed by the driver. Three modes – Sport, Sport Plus and Track are offered. The brake set-up uses dual-cast discs, 398mm diameter with sixpiston monobloc calipers up front, while the rear is the same set up with 360mm diameter discs and four-piston monobloc calipers. On the safety front, there’s threemode traction control, anti-lock brakes, brakeforce distribution, electronic braking assist, and parking sensors besides dual stage driver and passenger front airbags, front-seat side airbags, head protection airbags for both rows, plus pretensioning seatbelts.

Driving Impressions Due to the low slug seating, it takes a bit of juggle to get inside the car or close the door when inside. The Rapide S is an easy car to live with if you don’t mind its low ground clearance. And if you are buckled up, it’s near impossible to reach out and shut the door which swings upwards when opened. An electric push button closing system would have been a thoughtful addition. Fire the engine using the key fob and the V12 engine roars into life and settles into idle quickly. In the world of modern GT cars where performance numbers have reached supercar territory, the Rapide S is at least a second slow in its 0-100km/h sprint, but that aspect doesn’t disqualify the car. While reprogramming the engine software has resulted in better torque delivery, it feels much better and relaxed than the outgoing Rapide as it builds its speed in a linear fashion with appropriate driver input. Featuring double-layered glass, the Rapide S is pretty quiet, especially when driven sedately, however, some road noise from the 20in wheels can filter in but they don’t disturb the serenity inside the cabin. And as before, the V12 engine’s exhaust note is compelling and as we experienced the car more with the miles, we realized that it can confidently take a corner and like a sports car. . Where the Rapide S clearly outshines its competitors is in the steering department where the feedback and response is pure and unadulterated, thanks to the hydraulically assisted set up. Meanwhile, the variable suspension shock absorbers do an outstanding job in providing a

smooth and controlled ride befitting a luxury sedan. And despite improvements in build quality and detailing, the NVH department still has work to do. We also noticed, at least with our test car, a disappointing number of squeaks and rattles emerging from unidentified areas as the car went over rough patches. The 8-speed ZF automatic transmission is ultra-smooth, even in manual-shift mode where the shifts are markedly quicker and the edginess of the older robotized transmissions is a thing of the past. The adaptive suspension button alters between Normal, Sport and Track modes. We noted that they are from the ones used in the Vanquish, but in its functioning it is somewhat different. We think it has been deliberately re-programmed for a sedan and hence Normal and Sport are most useful. Normal brings a fabulous ride, even on these huge wheels, and Sport sharpens up the handling enough to hustle it along a deserted road. However, unlike sports cars, the chassis changes do not involve things like gear shifting or steering feel. Having a Track mode in a sports sedan is rarely heard of and we wonder how many Rapide S owners would actually take the car for a track day if there are opportunities to do so? And a short note on living with the car. In terms of operating day-to-day things, while many modern sports sedans have migrated to modern features like a centralized knob-based infotainment controllers, the lack of such a device means that you have to master the manually operated switches and depend on the labeled buttons. This disorderly

The curse of the navi!

The Rapide’s navigation is definitely a letdown compared to the price tag that it demands. For someone who is ready to pay through their noses - close to a whopping AED one million, this is small change and would hardly ever matter. The small pop-up screen at the top of the centre console feels like it was an afterthought by the carmaker and the screen is barely visible in the blaring Middle Eastern midday sun. The Garmin derived navigation is one of the least intuitive of navi’s that I have come across in a long time and seems like it’s a good decade behind in terms its functionality. The menus need to be accessed through a push-to-select round switch located down the centre console. To someone who is uninitiated to the Aston way of doing things, the menu control switch can be quite intimidating. For this ultra-luxury and super-expensive four-door sports saloon, an adjustable touch-screen with a voice activated location search would have been something that I would have really liked perhaps a little Bond touch! Nabeel Ferzan

While the actual legroom has increased slightly from the previous Rapide, the same-sized door makes the in-and-out process just as difficult as the last car

The 2014 Aston Martin Rapide is now called the Rapide S. The incoming gets several styling upgrades and an updated V12 engine placement of the functional switches can be irritating, especially, when you are in a hurry. The car’s standard navigation system is a Garmin unit and the test car was supplied with an older map version. Also navigation in this system isn’t the easiest to operate compared to what’s available in the market these days.

There are plenty of genuine design elements inside the cabin, but the effort is somewhat subdued due to Aston’s lack of attention in improving ergonomics and upgrading hardware.

Verdict The overall impression is that Aston Martin has created the Rapide S in a hurry and perhaps on a shoe-string budget. It has created a car that looks good but key touch point areas have been neglected. Aston Martin has set its image in stone as a carmaker devoted to crafting alluring and expensive cars and such an exercise could be counter-productive. While Aston Martin doesn’t have access to deep pockets of a rich parent company, so it’s understandable how the strategy of offerings has to be limited when compared to Porsche. It may sound absurd, but considering the Rapide S’s engineering, design, pedigree and handcrafted execution, its really very attractive sticker price and gorgeous looks makes it a standout contender for this market. Despite some of its flaws, the Rapide S is an exotic sedan that owners will probably find themselves driving every day.

2014 Nissan Sunny [facelift]

Sunny day

Nissan Middle had planned a factory visit and test drive of the refreshed 2014 Sunny which is built in India. To our surprise, we were told that there were not enough takers for this media trip from ME. As always Automan is first to get the story for its readers from this event Author: Faisal Khan


n Asian markets like India, competition in the C-segment sedan market is as intense as ever. While models sold in this class were enjoying a small chunk of the large pie, Honda came and simply monopolised the segment with their path breaking new City. Now, Nissan has upped its game for the Indian market in this segment by refreshing the Sunny, a model that also enjoys healthy sales in the Middle East. It’s no secret that the Sunny has never been a style icon. It’s more of a car with neutral styling. The refresh sees several changes to the exterior which make it look fresh amongst a sea of sedans now vying for buyer’s attention in the C-segment. Up front, the new headlamps are angular and seem to have taken some inspiration from the Altima or 370Z. The grille is new and bigger with thicker chrome surrounds. The redesigned front bumper gets a chrome lip and other cosmetic touches include new mirrors shrouds with side indicators. No changes have been made to the sheet metal. The car’s cabin has received significant attention, more on the lines of the updated Micra. Nissan has tried to transform the interiors of the car drastically with changes to the dashboard, trim, instrument cluster, new multifunction steering wheel and most of all the beige and grey interior has been replaced by an all black interior which makes the cabin lookand feel so much better than before. For propulsion, Nissan continues to

offer 1.5-litre petrol and diesel mills to power the Sunny. The HR15 Series petrol engine now offers 99PS and 134 Nm of torque in the manual transmission set-up (and marginally more in the CVT). In terms of performance, the Sunny will continue to be positioned towards back benchers and thus this car isn’t about handling. Still, the vehicle is light on its feet, handles decently well and has decent grip on offer, as long as you don’t push it. The steering isn’t feedback rich but is light and that makes the Nissan Sunny easy to manoeuvre at all times. It does weigh up better than some of the cars in the segment and high speed stability left us nothing to complain about. The NVH levels could have been better though as road noise is apparent inside the cabin at high speeds. Braking performance is good and the ABS has been calibrated well. Where the Nissan Sunny totally excels is in the ride quality department. It’s a sweet riding car, absorbing most of the bumps in its stride with relative ease. The suspension set-up is on the softer side, yet it feels mature and more than up for the job. The mature calibration of the suspension prevents bounciness over bad roads while also ensuring the car remains stable and tackles bad roads in its stride without much vertical movement. Lots of interior room along with a good ride quality makes the Sunny a very comfortable car for occupants.

Author: Chandan B Mallik Photography: author


he timing and setting was perfect. Traditionally, Lord March organises the annual UK Essexbased Goodwood Festival of Speed which features an eclectic mix of past, present and futuristic motorcars and motorcycles. It also seemed that weather gods also had a soft spot for this location this year. A few miles away in Wimbledon, some of the day’s matches were totally washed out, but Goodwood enjoyed a perfect British summer with clouds and the sun playing hide and seek intermittently. Yes, I did mention timing in my opening statement. One of Lord March’s rules for deciding the date for the Festival of Speed each year is that the event does not clash with either the Le Mans 24-hour race or any F1 GP, meaning the paddocks are usually full of racing royalty. The long list of stars this year included the likes of modern gladiators such as Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastians Vettel and Loeb while yesterday’s heroes ranged from champions such as Wayne Gardner, John Surtees, Emmerson Fittipaldi, Didier Auriol, Hannu Mikkola and Dario Franchitti. This year, the featured marque was Mercedes-Benz who erected the impressive main sculpture dedicated to the event. Incidently, Mercedes-Benz, also celebrate 120 years of motorsport in 2014. Equally steeped in racing pedigree is Italian marque Maserati, who almost exclusively built competition cars before the War and celebrates their centenary this year. Was it therefore a coincidence that there was friendly competition between Mercedes and Maserati cars trying to outwit each other in timings ‘on the hill climb?

The mood and environment over the two days we spent at Goodwood was electrifying. In carnival spirit, spectators occupied the lush green grass in front of Goodwood House, watched over from the balcony of the historic mansion by shepherds of speed and automotive aristocrats. While the ground was reverberating to the cacophony of exhaust notes of machines, soaring gracefully among white clouds was supersonic display of ariel prowess by Red Arrows and RAF. Two days of neverending parade of fast and noisy vehicles, some spitting flames or coughing as they race against the clock while others stop to entertain the crowd by simply disappearing or some drivers entertaining crowds by performing tyre burnouts/ doughnuts with their cars or blips/wheelies by bikers.

The Festival of Speed is now - as its name suggests - a genuine celebration of all things motoring, motorsport and even to some extent aviation. In addition to these, the Festival of Speed also marked the 50th anniversary of John Surtees winning the F1 World Championship. . While the hill climb remains the main event of the Festival of Speed, there are many more side numbers, which include the Moving Motor Show, the de facto British Motor Show, the Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance and the annual Bonhams Festival of Speed sale. What particularly impressed us was the crowd management, logistics and organisation at this venue where over 150,000 spectators got a clear view of what’s happening up close. The hay-baled lined hillclimb was safe and allowed spectators to get up close to the action and see all these famous machines in action and then there’s also the chance to rub shoulders with the stars, some of whom have driven these cars during their illustrious careers. Here are the key highlights. Read on…


of Motorsport’ was the theme for the 22nd edition of this year’s edition of Goodwood Festival of Speed. Automan witnessed this car crazy frenzy in all its glory over two days.


‘Addicted to Winning - The Unbeatable Champions

Aston Martin

Following a pre-festival teaser on the web, Aston Martin gave a glimpse into the future with real-life models of the latest virtual supercars available in the Sony Playstation Gran Turismo 6 driving simulator. The car in question is the DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo which is expected to make its virtual debut in Gran Turismo 6 in July. The DP-100 is envisioned as a mid-engined supercar equipped with a V12 twin-turbo engine delivering 800bhp to the 20in alloy wheels wrapped around in Michelin tyres. Its creators say the virtual concept manages to offer “an exceptional level of detail with a fully functioning suspension system and stateof-the-art electronics” along with “active aerodynamics” which supports the car’s function within the game. Design Prototype or DP 100 virtual offering for the game was developed in-house over the course of six months. Some have criticized AM for not making any significant changes to its designs but they can’t say the same thing about the DP-100 which represents a considerable departure from the familiar look. Aston’s midengined concept was the final piece in the company’s centenary celebrations.


Audi used the venue to introduce the third generation all-new TT. Besides the new TT, Audi also showcased this year’s Le Mans winner, an example of the R18 e-tron quattro smeared and battle-scarred from the 24-hour race, at which Audi took its 13th win in 16 years.


On static display at the brand’s stand were the Ariel Atom 3.5R and two examples of the ACE motorcycle concepts along with the original Ariel Square Four. According to Ariel, the brand will be creating low volume handmade bespoke products. That aspect was quite clear at the stands. While both exotic naked machines had their the exoskeleton frames inspired by the Atom four-wheeler, the suspension system up front offered is either girder or inverted catridge. The rear suspension uses single-sided cast alloy swing arm with mono shock absorber. The prototypes are production ready as most of the powertrain hardware comes from Honda’s 1,237cc water-cooled V4 motor cranking out 173PS and 129Nm of torque from the VTR. Ariel will offer throttle-bywire technology combined with its own fuel mapping software to ensure peak power is always on tap across the entire rev bandwidth. Ariel claims the bike is capable of hitting a top speed of 265km/h with ease. The Ace will be offered in two versions -- manual and dual clutch transmission [DCT] with the idea to cater to both track day and day-to-day riders. The Ace also completed its maiden hill climb here.

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo’s stall was impressive with its latest merchandise rubbing shoulders with some of its peers, but in the dynamic section, the order of the day was dampened by an accident. Alfa Romeo’s grand plans for an impressive hill climb with 4C didn’t go as exactly planned on the first day of the festival. Instead of completing the run, it hit the safety straw bales. The new Alfa Romeo Mito and Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde models had their UK debuts on the hill and Alfa Romeo also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Giulietta by showcasing some of its heritage cars, including the 1955 750 Competizione and the Giulietta SZ Coda Tronca from 1960.


Honda used the event to showcase the NSX and new Civic Type R hatchback preproduction concepts. Alongside the cars on display, a selection of Honda racing classics from the Honda Collection Hall in Japan participated in the hill climb. These included Senna’s McLaren Honda MP4/4, driven over the weekend by Japanese racer Takuya Izawa, and the 1965 RA272 F1 racer piloted by touring car stalwart and current Castrol Honda WTCC driver, Gabriele Tarquini.


Visitors to Jaguar’s stand at Goodwood were welcomed by a static display of the confirmed for production F-Type Project 7. And a week later the car made its dynamic debut in front of packed crowds during the Le Mans Classic race meeting over the weekend of 4-6 July, 2014. Meanwhile, among the other Jaguars cars, we spotted several interesting ones ranging from Jaguar’s D-Types to the Silk Cut XJR-9.

Land Rover

Land Rover offered a first glimpse of a new high performance prototype -- the thinly disguised Range Rover Sport SVR. The Range Rover Sport SVR has been created by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team and all future SVR models will need to meet stringent key performance criteria in order to wear the SVR badge. The camouflaged prototype Range Rover Sport SVR is currently undergoing development prior to going on sale in 2015. Details of the vehicle’s 550hp V8 powertrain are still under wraps, but crowds got their money’s worth in form of a thrilling soundtrack to match its impressive pace. Performance data for the SVR will extend the Range Rover Sport’s established capabilities as the fastest, most agile and most responsive Land Rover ever built.


McLaren took the wraps off the orange and white coloured 650S GT3 following a teaser announcement a week before. The GT3, wearing McLaren’s historic number 59 livery is mechanically based on the road-going 650S Coupe. Technically, the track-only GT3 derivative is a follow-up to the 12C GT3 but with a more aggressive body kit made mostly from carbon fibre and including larger air intakes providing optimized cooling. McLaren Special Operations (MSO) has also confirmed limited production editions for its 650S model. The livery also suggests McLaren’s possible racing ambitions in future as the #59 number was once worn by the McLaren F1 GTR at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1995 where it won on its debut, a feat that still remains unique to this day. McLaren says the new 650S racer was designed to meet the GT3 regulations used in second-tier sportscar racing series around the world, like the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Pirelli World Challenge.


Classic Fords were quite abundant in numbers at Goodwood and there were some fine examples of models that dominated the British series in the 1960s like the Galaxies and Escorts. And from across the Atlantic were Ford Nascars from the 1960s right through to today. Ford’s list of cars also includes several examples of modern World Touring Car contenders, high-tech DTM machines and even a Peter Brock Ford Sierra and a Ford Falcon V8 Supercar stickered to look like Craig Lowndes’ famous 00 Motorsport ‘green-eyed monster! From the new car launch side, Ford used the event to introduce and even surprise many with its refreshed for 2015 Focus ST. The world debut also saw the formal introduction of a new diesel-powered version, as well. To prove that the Focus ST is still as potent as ever, Ford set up a one-on-one race up the Goodwood Hill. But instead of putting the two cars side-by-side, former Stig from Top Gear UK, Ben Collins, piloted the real model up the course, and his rival drove the virtual version in Gran Turismo 6. The two hot hatches set off at the same time and the finish was actually extremely close.


Besides track action and stand presence, Nissan also gave a glimpse into the future with models of their latest virtual supercars which are used in the Sony Playstation Gran Turismo 6 driving simulator. Nissan’s Vision 2020 showcased a radical design direction that is likely to inspire the next-generation GT-R. According to Nissan Design Europe Design Director Taisuke Nakamura: “People are quite enthusiastic to race a car in a virtual environment. It’s a new styling challenge without any constraints, boundaries, so it was a purely design challenge from our side to see how much we can go further to achieve an attractive design. It’s like a virtual motor show to me.” The car draws inspiration from the GT-R and has a futuristic design that is extremely slippery and aerodynamic. Starting up front, there’s a “V-motion”

front fascia with slender LED headlights and a front splitter. We can also see a ventilated hood, side exiting exhausts and a double bubble roof. The concept also has an aggressive rear diffuser and a prominent rear wing. For dynamic expressions, Nissan brought to the table a road-legal version Nismo GT-Rs to Goodwood and the prototype which set the record lap on the Nurburgring. Very much like Alfa Romeo, Nissan also faced some embarrassing moments with one of its GT-Rs after six-time Olympic gold medal winner Sir Chris Hoy, who was piloting a Nissan GT-R GT3 ended up in an expensive shunt with a hay bale. But that didn’t deter Nissan putting up an impressive show with its concept loaded stand where the Japanese brand had both the ID concept models, GT-R Nismo and Time Attack, Juke Nismo and 370Z Nismo.


At the hill climb, Infiniti let loose its satin red Q50 Eau Rouge prototype which is powered by the twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 of the Nissan GT-R. Other hardware in this car like the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system comes from the GT-R. What doesn’t come from the GT-R in the Infiniti is the throaty exhaust note, which sounded deliberately muted. Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner and test driver Sébastien Buemi took turns to drive the Q50 Eau Rouge prototype. Meanwhile, at the Moving Motor Show, all new Infiniti Q50 models were on display along with the ultra-exclusive Infiniti FX Vettel Edition SUV.


While the Lexus LFA took part in the supercar runs up the hill and entertained the spectators, the RC-F coupé also had its dynamic UK debut. This new model was first unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January is powered by a V8 engine producing “in excess of 450bhp” and incorporating technology derived from the Lexus LFA supercar.


Rolls-Royce celebrated a successful weekend with the Wraith, the British brand’s ultimate gentlemen’s gran turismo. Also making its first UK public appearance was the Ghost Series II. Meanwhile, the Course Director’s car this year was a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé, resplendent with race lights and official Goodwood decals.


Toyota’s focus at the festival was more towards highlighting its rally heritage. Proof of the pudding came in form of an impressive display of Celicas and Corollas from the 1980s and 1990s.


New players like UK’s Elemental used the venue to launch its new road-legal, track-orientated two-seater called the RP-1. The RP-1 is powered by a 276bhp 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine and has a claimed kerb weight of 450kg. Elemental says the car “incorporates a carbonfibre tub, motorsportderived aerodynamics and owner-tuneable suspension”.


South Korean automajor Hyundai made its presence felt at Goodwood with its latest i20 WRC rally machine. In fact, Hyundai Motorsport i20 World Rally Championship driver, Dani Sordo clinched the fastest recorded laps around the 1.16mile Forest Rally Stage achieving a best aggregate time of 7m 49 secs in total over three runs.


Bentley came exceptionally well prepared for the Festival of Speed with an impressive line-up of its current cars as well as rare examples spanning the brand’s rich 95 year heritage. Arguably, the Bentleyline-up on display at Goodwood showcased the best in British luxury and performance. During the three day adrenalin pumped activity, the Bentley stand also witnessed the global debut of the new Continental GT3-R – which is touted as the most dynamic and fastest-accelerating Bentley ever produced [See preview elsewhere in this issue]. The limited to 300 unit production car takes its inspiration from Bentley’s race-winning Continental GT3 racer. On the hill climb, came fresh from its recent victory at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone, the GT3 piloted by modernday Bentley Boy David Brabham. Brabham also drove a Bentley Speed 8 to second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003, completing the famous Bentley 1-2. Tracing the roots of the brand’s racing heritage, three historic Bentleys were reunited for the first time in over a decade to complete Goodwood’s famous Hillclimb. The Speed Six Bentley, affectionately known as ‘Old Number 1’, won Le Mans in 1929 and 1930 with Woolf Barnato partnering Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin (1929) and Glen Kidston (1930) as well as winning at Brooklands. This unique and celebrated racing car was accompanied by two more classic Bentleys. ‘Old Number 2’ and ‘Old Number 3’ are both in their original form and raced alongside Old Number 1 at Le Mans in 1930. At the Bentley stand, the full line-up of Bentley’s road cars were displayed with one of the latest additions to the range – the Continental GT V8 S – also driven up the hill by five-time Le Mans winner and Bentley Boy, Derek Bell. For the first time, Bentley also displayed a range of pre-owned models, on a separate stand in the Exhibitors’ Area.


Sir Sterling Moss with the Alferi concept

Maserati showcased its largest ever collection of cars at Goodwood as part of the Italian brand’s 100 year worldwide celebrations. Maserati took over the Stable Yard at the Goodwood estate for the duration of this year’s event with its past and present cars – including some of the rarest models from its 100 year history and its entire current range. Pre-War cars included the ex-Tazio Nuvolari Belgian Grand Prix winning 8CM, one of just four V8-engined V8RIs produced in 1935 and the 8CTF driven to victory in the Indy 500 in 1939 and 1940. Among the post-War Maseratis, the most outstanding car was Lukas Huni’s 250F, which was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio to score his final and greatest Grand Prix victory [his fifth World Championship] at the Nurburgring in 1957. The Maserati Alfieri Concept headlined the festivities after it made its UK public debut alongside the GranCabrio MC Centennial Edition. In Sunday’s shoot-out former GT1 World Champion and ex-grand prix driver Michael Bartels won the modern endurance racers-post 1980 class with his specially liveried Maserati MC12 ‘Goodwood Cent 100’ and came a close second behind Sebastien Loeb for the overall top spot, with a time of 45.82, just 1.22s behind the winner. The car is decorated with artistic paintings of Maserati’s motorsport glories: Stirling Moss in a 250F, the MC12 FIA GT cars and even an outline of the Goodwood hillclimb route feature. At the Cathedral Paddock, over twenty Maserati’s ranging from the oldest Maserati at the event, a Tipo 26M, to Fangio’s F1 championship-winning 250F as well as several examples of the MC12 were up on display. In the timed shoot out, the Maserati 4CS in the Grand Touring Cars (pre-1945) and the Maserati 300S and Maserati A6GCS came first and second respectively in the Road Racers of 1945-1964. Modern Maseratis like the GranTurismo MC Stradale and GranCabrio MC entertained spectators as they participated in the Michelin Supercar Run over the weekend.


Porsche was in top form with an exciting array of new models and some legendary icons from its museum were also shipped over for the event. Porsche Le Mans works drivers Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb attended the event on selected days over the weekend and dutifully put the cars through their paces on the hill climb. Car s that we saw at the festival included the 1998 911 GT1 [actual Le Man winner], 1987 962, 2008 open cockpit RS Spyder. Static displays included the 1983 Gruppe


Mercedes-Benz was the featured marque at this year’s Festival of Speed The tristar brand celebrated 120 years in motorsport with an impressive array of cars with many coming from collectors or privateers. Cars on show ranged from early 1900s and several pre-war Grand Prix cars, famous Silver Arrows models like the W196, the Sauber C9 Le Mans-type sports car right up to last year’s Mercedes F1 racer driven by Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes also debuted the revised CLS for the first time at Goodwood 2014. Track action on the hill saw both old and

new car were being driven hard up the 1.16-mile route. One couldn’t miss the race-winning 1928 Mercedes SSK through to the mighty W 165 R Silver Arrow, the SL 500 rally car and the flame-spitting SauberMercedes C 9 endurance racer. Among the cars on display was the actual winner of the last race held before the Great War, brought from the United States by collector George Wingard. These cars starred in the ‘Pioneering Greats’ class alongside a slightly earlier 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix car, while other notable competition cars from the German company were found in many more classes. Among them was the 1939

B Studie and 1969 917-16 cylinder. In the dynamic section, the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder, 911 Turbo S Cabriolet did the rounds and in the First Glance category, the Macan Turbo, 911 Targa and Cayman GTS will make their first public appearance. The Porsche Experience Centre exhibited the current model range including the Boxster GTS, Macan S Diesel, 911 Targa 4S, Panamera S E-Hybrid, 911 Turbo S Coupé, the Exclusive 911 Carrera Martini Racing Edition, Cayman GTS, Cayenne GTS and Panamera GTS each in distinctive Carmine Red.

Tripoli Grand Prix winning W165, driven by Sir Jackie Stewart and the 1954 W196, reunited with original driver Sir Stirling Moss. The action extended to production cars including the most potent AMG road car -- the SLS AMG Black Series. Also making an appearance on the Hill was the car that drove from Africa to the UK on a single tank of fuel, an E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid. Behind the wheel of some of the Mercs were some of the greatest drivers from recent times – including Dario Franchitti, Jochen Mass, Klaus Ludwig and Sir Stirling Moss. Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 F1 World Champion drove his regular Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team car on Sunday.


Ferrari’s participation with 90 cars in the third edition of the Ferrari Cavalcade was an impressive sight with the one-off F12 TRS, making its public debut on non Sicilian soil. The F12 TRS is based on the F12berlinetta as was commissioned exclusively by a Ferrari aficionado which is rumoured to be inspired by a 1957 250 Testa Rossa. To us, the F12 TRS is Flavio Manzoni and the Ferrari Style Centre team’s homage to its inspiration. Grammy Award-winning English musician, best known as the lead singer of the British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai, Jay Kay, brought his brand new LaFerrari painted in Kermit Green. One of the 499 units to be produced, Jay Kay’s LaFerrari made an appearance in the Michelin Supercar Paddock at Goodwood where it was parked alongside a red LaFerrari and the one-off F12 TRS.


Renault’s presence was quite strong and it display arsenal was represented by various production and concept models cutting across motor sport and road cars. The all-new Renault Twingo was on display for the first time in the UK ahead of its official launch in September, along with the production version of the Captur crossover and the latest Clio.

Four interesting concepts from the ‘Life Cycle’ series of design studies which has been initiated by Renault’s design director Laurens van den Acker were on display. These thematic expressions were represented in the DeZir, Captur Concept, R-Space and Twin’Run. That’s not all. Three groundbreaking electric cars -- the all-electric Zoe supermini, Twizy and the Spark-Renault SRT-01E, the electric single-

seater which will compete in the Formula E series later this year were also on show. In the dynamic section, cars from Renault’s 115-year participation in motor sport were on display and in action on the hill and rally stage. Models included the Type K that brought Renault its first international racing victory in the Paris to Vienna race in 1902 and the rally-bred Renault R5 Maxi Turbo.


Citroen unveiled its new Cactus hatchback and latest C1 city car. It was the first official outing for both models. Citroen also celebrated the 80th anniversary of Traction Avant, the model that helped to popularise front-wheel drive when it was introduced way back in 1934.


Following a teaser a week before its unveil in Goodwood, Peugeot fully revealed the packaging for the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary special edition. The 30th Anniversary version was showcased in the Supercar & First Glimpse class of the event. The car comes with several enhancements like a new Euro 6-compliant 1.6-litre high pressure turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine delivering 205hp and 300Nm. This makes it 8hp and 25Nm more powerful than in the previous iteration. Peugeot also gave a glimpse of its striking 2008 DKR rally machine, which also marks the brand’s official return to the Dakar Rally in January 2015.

Bikes galore

Big bike brands and their charismatic riders were doing the rounds in the paddocks and hill climbs. It was really good to see old timers from now defunct BSA and Norton kicking alive alongside modern Japanese heavyweights and sports bikes. Honda’s famed duo Freddie Spencer and Stuart Graham were cool entertainers. Graham – a successful racer on two and four wheels rode the RC164 [a 250cc four-cylinder racer upon which Jim Redman won the 1963 World Championship] and Spencer, who burst onto the motorcycle world championship scene in dominant fashion in the early 1980s showed his skills on his NSR500 racer up the hill. Bradley Smith, the current MotoGP rider for the Tech 3 Yamaha team rode the YZR500 OW48 [the famous 500cc world championship patronized by Kenny Roberts in 1980]. Isle of Man frontrunner John McGuinness was also seen in action on a Honda Racing CBR1000RR, while the current Pata Honda World Superbike pair of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea charged the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades up the hill. Other bike stars include Giacomo Agostini, Wayne Gardner, Chaz Davies and Dougie Lampkin with their respective machine. Meanwhile, the bike paddock’s revealed some interesting and rare machines from Norton, Ducati, Suzuki among others.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06


he all-new 2015 Chrevrolet Corvette Z06 goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2014 in the US is being prepared as the most powerful production car ever from General Motors and one of a few production cars available in the United States that comfortably crosses the 600hp mark. As of now, according to GM, the Z06’s LT4 supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine is SAEcertified at 650hp at 6,400 rpm and 88Nm of torque at 3,600 rpm. “The LT4 Small Block sets a new benchmark for power and torque at GM,” said Steve Kiefer, vice president, GM Powertrain Engineering. “The engine also puts the new Corvette Z06 on par with the most powerful supercars offered in America, while delivering performance with impeccable manners that make it suitable for daily driving.” Compared with other supercar engines, the LT4 is a veritable fountain of low-end torque, producing 619Nm just off idle and 847Nm by only 2,800 rpm. These figures compare favourably, say with the V12-powered Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, which produces about 28 per cent less torque than the Z06, despite offering about 12 per cent more horsepower and its peak torque comes at 6,000 rpm. The LT4 maintains 90 per cent of its peak torque of 802Nm from 2,500 to 5,400rpm. The new LT4 engine performance also eclipses

Soon to arrive new Chevy Corvette ZO6 will land with incredible performance credentials the Porsche 911 Turbo S engine’s peak power levels by 90hp and 182 Nm. “Torque is the pulling power of an engine and the LT4’s abundance of it at every rpm in the engine’s speed range helps the 2015 Corvette Z06 accelerate quicker and respond nearly instantaneously,” said Jordan Lee, chief engineer for Small Block engines. “It’s the very definition of power on demand.” Compared to the

previous-generation’s 7.0-litre LS7 engine, the new Z06 engine produces 40 per cent more peak torque [244Nm] and 7.5per cent more than the supercharged 2013 Corvette ZR1’s [819 Nm]. At 3,200 rpm, the new LT4 surpasses the LS7 by 208 lb-ft of torque [252Nm]. On the horsepower side of the graph, the LT4’s 650hp rating is 29 per cent greater than the LS7’s 505hp and 12 horses more than the ZR1’s LS9 engine. The new LT4 engine builds on the design strengths of our previous supercharged engine and leverages the technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray like direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing. Interestingly, the LT4’s supercar performance numbers are achieved with an engine that is nearly the same size as the very compact LT1 engine introduced in the 2014 Corvette Stingray.

The all-new V8 6.2-litre LT4 supercharged engine comes with a 1.7-litre Eaton supercharger and an intercooler and develops an impressive 650bhp at 6,400rpm and 880Nm at 3,600rpm. This makes it the most powerful production car ever made by General Motors

In the past, the Z06 has enjoyed a degree of visual separation from the standard Corvette. The incoming car seems that it was hotwired with concentrated dose of pure aerodynamic profiling. GM says there are no fewer than three aerodynamic packages available


he new LT4 engine is based on the same Gen 5 small block foundation as the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 6.2-litre naturally aspirated engine. It now incorporates several unique features designed to support its higher output and other characteristics. In its construction,

it uses Rotocast aluminium cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum heads, lightweight titanium intake valves, uses high 10.0:1 compression ratio, forged aluminium pistons, stainless steel exhaust manifolds and an aluminium balancer that

are lighter than their LT1 counterparts and standard dry-sump oiling system with a dual-pressure-control oil pump. The new supercharger spins at up to 20,000rpm which means it is 5,000rpm more than the supercharger on the Corvette ZR1’s engine. The rotors are smaller in diameter, which contributes to their higher-rpm capability – and enables them to produce power-enhancing boost earlier in the rpm band. That boost is achieved more efficiently via a more direct discharge port that creates less turbulence, reducing heat and speeding airflow into the engine. The LT4 is assembled at the new Performance Build Center at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant and at GM’s Tonawanda engine plant in New York. It is matched with a standard seven-speed manual transmission or an all-new, paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission built in Toledo, Ohio. Designed to deliver shift responses on par with the world’s best dual-clutch transmissions, it is the first automatic offered in a Z06. It also makes the Z06 one of the few cars this powerful to offer the choice of a conventional manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

Jaguar F-Type Project 7

Now confirmed for production as limited edition, the F-Type Project 7 features performance-focused engineering by Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations, which is the engineering and vehicle division of Special Operations.


rom concept to reality – another chapter opens in Jaguar’s line-up. Its design has been kept true to the head-turning lines of the original Project 7 concept, which was unveiled last summer. Technically, the F-Type Project 7 is the most powerful and fastest production Jaguar to date. The Project 7 name is a reference to the seven outright Le Mans wins scored by Jaguar and the production version pays tribute to the legendary D-Type. This limited to 250 unit production model is mechanically based on the F-Type and features a chopped off roof and 50’s influenced lowered windscreen, removable roof, carbon fibre trim and sill plates with the “Project 7” lettering. The Jaguar F-Type Project 7 is not only the most focused derivative of the F-Type range, but is also the fastest and most powerful production Jaguar ever built. And to achieve these credentials, the car is constructed in all-aluminium to reduce

Author: Chandan B Mallik weight to 1,585kg [80kg less than the F-Type V8 S Convertible] and is powered by Jaguar’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine with power and torque enhanced to 575PS/680Nm [an increase of 25PS over the F-Type R Coupé]. The car also gets an active sport exhaust system while inside the cabin there are aluminum gearshift paddlesPower is sent to the rear wheels through Jaguar’s eight-speed Quickshift transmission and second generation Electronic Active Differential (EAD). Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes which are available as an option on the F-Type R Coupé come standard on F-Type Project 7. Jaguar says that they will offering powerful, consistent, fadefree braking performance even after hard usage. Another feature is the inclusion of Torque Vectoring by Braking (TVbB) as a standard feature and in this car it will work in conjunction with the EAD, to help precise handling. Braking duties are

taken care of by 398mm front and 380mm rear ceramic discs allied to six- and fourpiston monobloc calipers respectively, which come as standard. The car rides on 20in Storm alloy wheels finished in gloss black which customers can opt to have fitted with high-performance Continental ForceContact tyres. Extensive aerodynamic modifications on F-Type Project 7 include a front splitter with a lower section made of moulded plastic and an upper section in carbonfibre. Side skirts, rear diffuser and an adjustable rear spoiler are all made of carbon-fibre. These components together mean the F-Type Project 7 generates 177 per cent more downforce than the regular F-Type Convertible. The windscreen length is reduced by 114mm, reducing overall height by 30.5mm, with new side windows to match the profile. A Bimini roof has been specially designed for F-Type Project 7 which clips on to the convertible header

2014 BMW X6

The all-new second generation BMW X6 SAV hits the markets with an interesting array of combinations Author: Chandan B Mallik


Under Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum, the sketch of a singleseater sports car with a swooping profile, muscular stance and cutdown windscreen went from paper to digital model to the Goodwood hillclimb in the space of just a few months, and has now become a production ca

rail, and can be conveniently folded and, when not in use, stowed in the boot area which offers 196-litres of load space. The car also benefits from bespoke, Special Vehicle Operations-engineered front suspension knuckles which give increased negative camber, revised top mounts and new front/rear anti-roll bars. The front and rear spring and damper units are height adjustable, and both spring rates and damper internals have been tailored specifically to this car. Meanwhile, the Adaptive Dynamics controlling software has been re-calibrated to suit F-Type Project 7, thus enabling the Dynamic Stability Control system also having a unique state of tune. As part of the handling package, Jaguar’s Adaptive Dynamics system actively controls vertical

body movement, roll and pitch rates by continuously monitoring driver inputs and the attitude of the car on the road, adjusting damper rates accordingly up to 500 times a second to optimise stability. The fully road-legal car offers performance figures identical to Bentley’s track-focused limited to 300 units Continental GT3 [also launched at Goodwood]. This means that the F-Type Project 7 joins the sub 3.9-sec 0-100km/h super car performance club. Top speed is electronically-limited to 300km/h. The F-Type Project 7 will be hand-built to exacting standards by Special Operations and each car will sport a specially numbered plaque, located between the two seats duly signed by Ian Callum.

MW has released the details of its new X5-based X6 SUV which will be launched later in the year. Sporting the same wheelbase of the X5 at 2,933mm, overall length has gone up by 32mm to 4,909mm while height and width is almost the same as the outgoing model. The second-generation X6 has kept the same coupe-meets-SUV profile which still seems connected with the polarising design of Gen I. However, some restyling has given it sharper, more defined lines to create a more muscular and angular body. That’s not all, the biggest news for this

model is that it will also be offered with rear-wheel-drive model. While the first-gen X6 was offered as the all-wheel-drive X6 xDrive35i and X6 xDrive50i, the new model brings the X6 sDrive35i to the table. It will also serve as the base model. As per current naming convention practiced, trim level designations still denote engine size. BMW will offer three variants from its European launch– the petrol xDrive 50i and two diesels in the form of the xDrive 30d and M50d – although BMW will add the 225kW xDrive 35i six-cylinder petrol and the xDrive 40d with a 230kW six-cylinder diesel later in 2015.

The entry level model will get the 300hp 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the xDrive50i will use a carry forward a uprated twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 offering 445 hp. BMW claims overall performance has been improved with both engines as the six-cylinder X6 can now accelerate from 0-96km/h in 6.0secs, while the V8 models perform the same stint in 4.8sec. Two trim levels, xLine and M Sport will be offered and 19in wheels are standard and 20in wheels will be offered as an option. The car’s interior is very similar to that of its donor, the X5.

2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R


With the arrival of the new 2014 Continental GT3-R, Bentley Motors has effectively announced its most dynamic member of the Continental family of Grand Tourers Author: Chandan B Mallik

t takes inspiration from its motorsports heritage and cutting edge engineering sees that it’s a car that can perfectly blend track and road credentials in one package. The road legal model, which will have limited to 300 units production was inspired by the new Continental GT3 race car that stormed to victory at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone, the first UK race for Bentley for 84 years. Bentley engineers have taken the stock Continental GT as the donor car and have extensively reworked on it to ensure optimized power-to-weight ratios, track-oriented performance and handling. The engineering programme included cognitive measures to ensure flab reduction by 100kg [helped partly by removal of rear seats] and shaving of some of the suspension components besides removal of non-essentials and usage of lightweight titanium exhaust. Cosmetic-cum-aero profiled components include a new carbon fibre front splitter, a new fixed rear wing fitted. The bonnet also has two functional vents to improve airflow and help enhance the cooling capacity of the powertrain system. However, despite it being stripped, the

interior of the car is handsomely crafted in unique to the model combination of green and black colours and trims materials. The two-seat configuration includes a pair of new bespoke sporting seats with additional side support through deeper bolsters, including newly designed foam layers for comfort and finished in Beluga black leather with diamond-quilted AlcantaraÂŽ. This material is also handtrimmed to the steering wheel and gear shifter, while the centre console and fascia panels are handcrafted in carbon fibre. To power the car, Bentley engineers have developed a retuned version of the race-proven, high performance 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for this new two-seater GT. For this car, it is programmed to developing 572bhp and 700 Nm of torque which comes at 6,000 rpm and 1,700 rpm respectively. Complementing the revised powertrain is a further development of the all-wheel drive system, which now features torque vectoring for the first time. Together with modified Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and a chassis tune optimised for outright cornering ability. With revised and shorter gearing in the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, the GT3-R becomes the fastest-accelerating

Bentley ever capable of reaching 96km/h from a standstill in just 3.6secs or 0-100 km/h in 3.8secs. Recalibrated control software means that Drive and Sport modes are moved further apart, each with different characteristics and with Sport mode designed for more spirited driving. Maximum driver control is provided by completely recalibrated paddle shift functionality. Meanwhile, air springs and shock absorber use a development of the sports-tuned setup from the Continental V8 S, and lightweight forged 21in rims are shod with high-grip Pirelli tyres. Sure shot braking duties have been commissioned to the Carbon Silicon Carbide (CSiC) braking system which uses large 420mm discs up front and 356 mm discs are fitted to the rear axle. With these enhancements and performance figures, this also means the Continental GT3-R now touches the supercar territory. All 300 units of this variant will be hand-built in Crewe and finished in Bentley’s Motorsport division. Purchase of the car also includes free standard servicing for four years (at the 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 mile marks). Order books for the Continental GT3-R are open now, with deliveries to start late in 2014.

Nissan 2020 Vision Grand Tourismo Concept

Conceptualised as a virtual race car, the radical-looking Nissan 2020 Vision Gran Turismo Concept could revolutionise the design profile of the nextgeneration production GT-R Author: Chandan B Mallik

Proven track credentials After scoring an historic victory at Silverstone last month, the #7 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 of Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane finished first in the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France, for the team’s second victory in a row. With the victory, Smith, Meyrick and Kane move in to the lead in the overall drivers’ championship standings ahead of the Series’ headline event at the 24 Hours of Spa at the end of July. In the dusk light of the track at Le Castellet, Steven Kane powered his way to victory with a narrow lead of just 1.1secs after three hours of racing, in a race that demanded the very best from both the Continental GT3 and its trio of drivers. The fight for the win dominated the third and final hour-long stint of the race, with the gap between the #7 car and the ART McLaren of Parente, Demoustier and Lapierre varying between six seconds and less than one second.

Nissan has lifted the virtual covers off the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo, a vision of what a high performance Nissan could look like in the future. It was created through close collaboration with the creators of Gran Turismo®, Polyphony Digital Inc., the legendary PlayStation® driving franchise. Nissan Concept 2020Vision Gran Turismo began life as dream project for Nissan designers who were given free rein to create their dream supercar for their own Gran Turismo fantasy garage. Created by a team of young designers at Nissan Design Europe, in London, England, the model was considered to have so much potential that it has benefited from input from an advanced engineering team based at Nissan Technical Centre in Atsugi, Japan. As a result, Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo gives hints as to how a supercar of the future might look. The concept vehicle’s design seems to be

suggesting it moving into the hypercar realm, with a stance and proportions not dissimilar to cars in this segment like the McLaren P1 and even Peugeot’s striking Onyx supercar concept from the 2012 Paris motor show. The clear family resemblance could suggest the design of the next GT-R would be revolutionary and not evolutionary as takes on a more traditional supercar profile instead of the two-door sedan/ coupe-based look of the existing model. It should also not come as a surprise that the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo sports some elements of a Le Mans prototype. Nissan has said that the development of its upcoming LMP1 racer and next-generation GT-R is closely linked, so it’s likely there will be some styling elements shared between the two. This month, automotive enthusiasts will be able to discover that performance first-hand when it becomes available to

download in Gran Turismo®6, just as they did with the Nissan GT-R and Skylines from earlier episodes of the historic franchise.

The clear family resemblance could suggest the design of the next GT-R would be revolutionary and not evolutionary as takes on a more traditional supercar profile instead of the two-door sedan/ coupe-based look of the existing model.

2015 Ford Edge

At some point, Ford has promised to incorporate the next-generation, nonMicrosoft Sync interface. As the unibody is stiffer now, it has helped engineers carry out some modifications in the suspension to be carried out. The front-wheel-drive Edge retains a MacPherson-type front suspension, but features an entirely new, sophisticated integral-link independent rear with coil springs and a 23mm antiroll bar. Central to the improved driving dynamics is an entirely new body structure and redesigned suspension - front and rear - developed specifically to better isolate road imperfection and absorb noise

Ford has officially unveiled the all-new, second-generation Edge CUV which will also be the first Ford-badged product to come standard with EcoBoost turbocharged power Author: Chandan B Mallik


he all-new mid-sized 2015 Edge CUV has been designed from the ground up to be visually athletic and to meet high expectations for quality in Europe and around the world The first generation Edge was launched in North America in 2007 and its success helped reshape the industry’s definition of a traditional SUV, establishing Ford as a strong name the “crossover SUV” segment. In Europe, the new Edge will share shelf space with the new Kuga medium-sized SUV [not sold in Middle East] and the lifestyle-oriented recently introduced all-new EcoSport compact CUV. Among the key briefs for the incoming Edge has been to give it a premium feel and hence attention has been paid in almost every single detail beginning with design, engineering and detailing. To begin

with, Ford has chosen a good foundation on which to reengineer the Edge. As a result the new Edge is mechanically based on the CD4 architecture [global midsize vehicle platform] that also underpins other models from the group like the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. While the profile is similar to the outgoing model, there are changes in dimensions due to the new platform migration. There’s growth in almost every direction. The wheelbase is up an inch (to 112.2), with length and height increasing by 3.9in and 1.6in respectively. Only width is decreased, and by only a tenth of an inch. Overall interior volume is up by a considerable 5.5 cubic feet, and cargo space behind the second-row seats is up by a full seven cubes. Thanks to the use of more highstrength steel, bending stiffness is up by

26per cent and torsional rigidity rises by 16per cent. For a SUV, the Edge had a trendy design and for the 2015 edition the headlamps have been narrowed and the grille no longer encompasses the entirety of the front end with polygonal LED daytime running lamps signing off the front end. Regardless of trim sold occupants will have access to more space -- legroom in the first and second rows has increased by 1.9in and 1.0in respectively, while headroom increases by 1.0in in the rear. There’s more shoulder room all around, as well. The new Edge’s interior breaks little ground in terms of design and aesthetics, but Ford says that materials have taken a big step up in quality, and ergonomic refinements along with feature pack.

without compromising handling. The car also gets Ford’s new adaptive steering. In North America, the all-new Edge will feature three engine options, two of which are new powerplants - a standard twin-scroll 2.0-litre EcoBoost® fourcylinder and a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6. A normally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 engine will also be offered in markets like Middle East. All will be equipped with dual output exhaust and a six-speed automatic transmission. The Europe-specced cars will be powered by turbocharged diesel engines. A raft of advanced safety features usually found on luxury cars like cameras and

radar that give a 360-degree view and help warn drivers of impending collisions and even help avoid them by applying the brakes, if necessary will find its way in the incoming Edge. However, the big news on the safety front is the standard fitment of Ford’s new “active glove-box knee bag” that will debut on the 2015 Mustang which is a bladder between the inner and outer glove-box door panels that is designed to inflate during a crash to cushion the passenger’s lower body. Meanwhile, Ford’s clever inflatable rear seat belts will also be made available on the Edge for the first time.

Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato Concept

Very few production cars can be called unique these days. However, there are one-off creations which not only present think out-of-the-box, but in some instances touch upon rich heritage of the past Author: Chandan B Mallik


t’s a domain that’s usually patronized by premium or ultra luxury car brands and involves wealthy patrons, connoisseurs, independent design houses, coach builders and sometimes carmakers themselves under the garb of ‘individual’ or ‘bespoke’ services. It may appear as a handcrafted concept

or privately commissioned project. It is generally believed that many of these flights of automotive fantasy made real are built by design houses and coach builders, just to see what they can do. And hence you can spot them at special events like Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este [annual elegance competition

for classic and vintage cars since 1929 and takes place during the last weekend of April in Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como, Italy or at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance which happens each year, on the third Sunday in August. Here are two newly conceived cars that are top newsmakers.

The names of Italian coachbuilder Zagato and Lamborghini Automobil are revered names in the automotive business – the former as a design house and the latter – well the name is enough. Add a F1 driver’s name to that list and you are guaranteed an exotic cocktail. Here’s what happened in 1965. Zagato formed a partnership with Lamborghini as it developed a pair of 350 GTZs, based on the production 350 GT, for former F1 driver Marquis Gerino Gerini. This event made Gerini the promoter of the first Zagato-bodied Lamborghini, the 3500 GTZ Nearly half a century later Albert Spiess, one of the most significant Lamborghini worldwide collectors, gave Zagato the chance to dress the most successful model

of all time in the Bull’s company history, in order to create a modern collectible car: the Lamborghini 5-95. The carmakers are at it again, bringing us a concept which is mechanically based on the Gallardo with some incredible design language. With the surfaces of a Zagato body, true to the rule that a car is as much efficient as it is compact. Zagato designers and engineers aimed to press the rear towards the engine and to increase the proportion of the front. Here, form meets function and thus two “strong” themes define the design in its whole. The bulbous front mudguard that bites into the bonnet while integrating the functions of the lights and the secondary air intakes and the rear end starting from the centre of the car. Up

front, a floating spoiler takes inspiration from the Lamborghini Raptor Zagato, coming to a firewall in carbon fiber that conceals the front air intakes. Continuous glass surfaces is a technical and stylistic theme launched by Zagato in the 40s on the then panoramic-styled bodies and the concept was reintroduced in the 80s. The idea is to surround the pillar-less body similarly to aircraft cockpits. The side intakes have been visually reduced to the minimum thanks to an air scoop on the roof as well as additional apertures concealed in the glass surfaces. The air scoop is functionally integrated with the double bubble roof, a signature of Zagato design, directing the cooling to the intake manifold.

MINI Superleggera Vision The MINI Superleggera Vision is a result of a collaborative effort between MINI and Milan-based coach builders Touring Superleggera. This 60s-influenced drop top features hand-crafted metal sheeting on the exterior and aninterior boasting materials like leather, aluminum, and black chrome and an electric drivetrain. MINI showed this concept at the 2014 Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este. Key design highlights of the Superleggera

includes a traditional roadster layout with a long bonnet and a shorter rear end. The front end boasts a pair of traditionally styled MINI headlamps, which sit above a modified version of the new Cooper’s grille. The car’s profile is brightened by a pair of character lines, the most noticeable of which runs from ahead and over the front wheel wells toward the back of the diminutive droptop. The fin at the rear actually signs off the design of the car.

The cabin is trimmed in aluminium and leather trim and follows a minimalist design trend. The overall theme blends more classic roadster characteristics with traditional MINI touches, and is most notable when looking at the large, thin-rimmed, three-spoke steering wheel harkens back to old British roadsters. A centrally mounted speedometer and the column-mounted tachometer in this concept are both classic features.

Hyundai Veloster Midship concept hen you think of hyper hot hatchbacks then names like the Renaultsport Clio V6 or the Volkswagen GTI W12-650 concept does feature prominently on the list. But to expect something as radical from a carmaker that began building bread-and-butter models and off-lately successfully elevated its status from budget to aspirational, till now would have been unexpected, given the conservative approach of the brand. The recently concluded Busan Auto Show in Korea may not be as big as the American or European car shows, but at this year’s edition there was a surprise element. Hyundai was able to do the unpredictable – create shock waves with its Veloster

What is Hyundai Motor Company up to these days besides trying to make and sell feature loaded luxury cars with bold Hyundai badging? It seems the South Korean automaker is in experimental mode with innovative ideas like a mid-engined Veloster Midship hot hatch concept which was shown at the Busan motor show recently Author: Chandan B Mallik

Could a car like the Veloster Midship take the brand to a higher new level as a halo model and act as a catalyst for a new brand or will it serve its purpose as an experimental engineering mule?

For sure, it is clear that Hyundai is capable of innovating engineering possibilities and a tangible product would surely improve perception about the brand’s capabilities in that respect. However, as a brand it needs to think carefully how to promote such an idea and not fall into the trap of creating a brilliantly designed and engineered cars that no one wants to buy due to the image of the badge

the engine from front to rear which also means the car has two less seats! The flip side is that the engine’s position ensures the car’s weight distribution has been

Midship concept hatchback. With the Midship concept, the official stance is that it was created only to explore possibilities for the car’s chassis and that no immediate production was planned. This means there are two messages for us. One, there’s an engineering side which Hyundai is willing to explore and perhaps look at the next level of racing products like the current i20 WRC. Incidently, the WRC is the first highperformance car created by Hyundai’s newly created “N” sub-brand. The second thought is a bit far-fetched for the moment given the resistance from Hyundai’s think-tank to consider an independent brand for select products.

sporty lightweight, aluminum suspension. And since the engine is at the rear, we would assume the car is now a rear-wheel drive with all-wheel-drive possibility. Visually, the Veloster Midship is a lot more aggressive to look at. It comes kitted with an aerodynamically profile kit that includes optimized bumpers and flared mudguards. The concept also gets a pair of rear intakes that are supposed to send huge amounts of air to the mid-mounted engine. Around back, a large diffuser and a huge wing are in place to provide more downforce for better handling. 0-100km/h performance is expected to be round 7secs.

Developed by Hyundai Motor Company’s High Performance Team, this 2-seater one-off is fully drivable and packed with the latest in Hyundai performance technologies

This is because, as a brand Hyundai might not have that advantage yet of be among the select automakers that punters would consider buying a highperformance vehicle. Whatever the scenario, has packaged the concept quite nicely. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder found in the stock production car been replaced by a larger, 2.0-litre Theta GDI unit which has been tweaked to offer 295hp. But the most significant change is the placement of

greatly improved, drastically change the handling and balance. Of course, the chassis has been reworked to make it more rigid and is supported with an agile

Motorsports F1 | 2014 British GP

Successful debut for Pirelli’s new tyre

The World Championship fight is back on. Lewis Hamilton has won the British GP to close within four points of the summit after World Championship leader Nico Rosberg retired from the lead of the race Round nine of the 2014 Formula One World Championship brings us to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, held at the Silverstone Circuit where Briton Lewis Hamilton took his fifth victory of the season ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Championship leader Nico Rosberg was forced to retiffffvvvre from the lead of the race with gearbox trouble on lap 29 at the British Grand Prix. It was a race which started, and then stopped, in the most dramatic and heart-stopping fashion as Kimi Raikkonen slam-dunked his Ferrari into a guardrail after just four corners and Felipe

Massa spun his Williams in a desperate bid to avoid the stricken F14 T. The accident that led to a one-hour delay as a guardrail was repaired. During the red flag period the team opted to swap Daniel and Seb’s starting medium tyres for hard compound Pirellis, a choice the pit wall believed would offer more strategic options as the race unfolded. When the race started again, Daniel struggled to find pace and was passed by both Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso. He pitted on lap 15 and the plan was to make another pit stop, but following discussions between team and driver the decision was taken

to stay out and attempt to make the tyres last until the checkered flag. Rising through the field thanks to good overtaking moves and latepitting one-stop cars, Daniel rose to third place. With 15 laps to go, the Australian had a 10-second cushion to Jenson Button, but the McLaren driver’s tyres were newer by 13 laps. Button made up ground quickly and by the final lap he was just 1.8 seconds behind Ricciardo. Daniel held on bravely, however, to claim what he called “the best third place I’ve ever got.” Daniel Ricciardo took a deserved fourth podium finish of the season at the British

Grand Prix after switching to a one-stop strategy that saw him fend off pressure from rivals behind and hold together his final set of tyres for 37 laps until the checkered flag. It was Rosberg’s first retyrement of the year - his team-mate has already had two - and left Hamilton able to cruise to the chequered flag half a minute clear of Valtteri Bottas after the Williams driver produced the drive of the day to claim a career-best second place after starting out from a lowly 14th. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, finished fifth, the champion winning an epic battle with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso that defined the last third of the race.

Pirelli’s new 18in concept tyres were the centre of attention at Silverstone last month where Lotus reserve driver Charles Pic gave the new design its official debut. Pic headed out shortly after 9.00am in the E22 equipped with the new 18in tyres and successfully completed 14 laps. With the concept tyre designed principally to showcase aesthetics rather than performance, and a general-purpose compound, lap times were not the focus. Instead, the objective was to gauge reaction to the very different new design from most observers. The new tyres were designed and built in Milan. The key

technical advantage of these tyres is a stiffer sidewall that helps maintain the structural rigidity of the tyre and also makes it easier for the tyre to maintain a constant pressure - as there is less actual air inside the tyre. The new tyre is physically bigger, which makes it much more relevant to the Ultra High Performance tyres that are seen on the road, leading to greater technology transfer. The new tyres have the same width as the current 13in tyres (245mm at the front and 325mm at the rear) but a diameter that is bigger by 30mm. The weight is approximately the same as the 13in tyre, because although the diameter is bigger, there is a smaller sidewall.

Vettel not so sure now

Fernandes sells Caterham Formula 1 It’s not after spending more than £250m in a Formula 1 team and achieving zero results in four years that one can be motivated to invest more in a business shrouded with so much uncertainty. This is exactly the scenario that Tony Fernandes faced with his Caterham Formula 1 team and reports suggest that a disappointed Fernandes has sold Caterham to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors. Under the terms of the sale, the team will continue to race as Caterham F1 Team and will operate from their Oxfordshire base in Leafield. Advising the team is 46-year-old Romanian Colin Kolles, who has previously

World champion Sebastian Vettel is not sure Red Bull can catch up with Mercedes by 2015. Red Bull boss Dr Helmut Marko said at Silverstone last weekend that, “In 2015, we want to be on par with Mercedes.” After taking part in the post-

been associated with Midland, Spyker, Force India F1 teams and most recently was team principal of HRT before their closure after three years. Kolles has been linked with Forza Rossa, a team from his home country that was recently granted an entry to take their place on the grid in 2015 or 2016. The former Dutch Formula One driver Christijan Albers, assisted by a colleague of Kolles from their time together at HRT, Manfredi Ravetto, are to take over the day-to-day running of the team. Meanwhile, Cyril Abiteboul, who had been working as team principal, has left the team to “pursue new challenges”, according to an official Caterham statement.

British grand prix test, Vettel said: “The gap to Mercedes is very big. Until the beginning of next season we will try to catch up and I hope that we are able to improve and get closer.” Vettel added: “While we have made significant

progress since the winter, the opponents also are not sleeping. We expect to make further steps over the coming months, and towards the end of the year we should be in a better position to judge where we stand for 2015.”

Hyundai Rallye Deutschland drivers are ready

SEBASTIEN BUEMI SETS THE PACE IN FIRST FORMULA E TEST E.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time during the maiden official test for the new FIA Formula E Championship at Donington Park last month. Fans got their first glimpse of the new all-electric series. The first of five public tests took place at the Leicestershire circuit in dry, bright conditions and saw all 10 teams and drivers use the full Donington Park GP circuit, modified to include an additional chicane at the exit to the Old Hairpin. Being the first outing for many of the drivers, the day focused on getting to grips with the Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars with German driver Daniel Abt, driving for Audi Sport Abt, laying down the early benchmark for the morning session. The German, who ended the day eighth

overall after missing the afternoon session due to other commitments, lapped in the low 1:37s, closely followed by Buemi and Andretti’s Franck Montagny. Times began to tumble in the afternoon session with Buemi once again on the pace, posting a 1:35.475s with under an hour to go and holding on to the top spot until the end of the day. Abt’s Lucas di Grassi finished over a half a second shy of the Swiss despite only running during the afternoon session with Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird a further threetenths back in third. Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna ran well all day to finish fourth with Venturi’s new signing and ex-Le Mans driver Stephane Sarrazin rounding out the topfive during his first outing in a fully-electric single-seater.

Nicolas Prost (e.damsRenault), son of four-time Formula One World Champion Alain, finished sixth to edge out Jarno Trulli with Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari and Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok completing the top-10. The day also saw outings for several of the championship’s new signings including Amlin Aguri duo Katherine Legge and Antonio Felix da Costa, Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld, Trulli’s Michela Cerruti and Dragon Racing’s Mike Conway. Former F1 racer Jerome d’Ambrosio and Spain’s Antonio Garcia tested for China Racing with Scott Speed making his test debut for Andretti – sharing the car with IndyCar legend and Formula E ambassador Gil de Ferran. Sebastien Buemi said: “I’m

more than happy to be honest. I didn’t have any problems with the car at all and that meant we were able to learn quite a lot about it. It’s always nice to be P1 so let’s hope it continues tomorrow.” Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “Today’s first test has been a special occasion for everyone involved with the FIA Formula E Championship. This project has been a long time coming but to see all the cars and drivers taking part is a very proud moment and my thanks goes to all our investors, partners, teams and Formula E personnel for transforming the FIA’s dream into a reality.” Day two of testing gets underway tomorrow at 9am with free access to fans, including a pitlane walk.

FIA Formula E Championship – Day 1, Donington Park – Test results (Combined times): 1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:35.475 2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +0.537 3. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +0.895 4. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +0.910 5. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +1.223 6. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +1.232 7. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +1.494

8. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +1.737 9. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +1.970 10. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +2.057 11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, +2.587 12. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +2.604 13. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, +2.611 14. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, +2.729

15. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +5.269 16. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, +5.693 17. Gil de Ferran, Andretti Autosport, +9.497 18. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, +10.434 19. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, +12.821 20. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, [No official time set]

The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team has today announced that Dani Sordo and Bryan Bouffier will join its lead driver Thierry Neuville as part of the team’s line-up for Rallye Deutschland at the end of August. Neuville will once again spearhead the team’s entry in the #7 Hyundai i20 WRC car, co-driven by Nicolas Gilsoul.

Spaniard Dani Sordo will return to the #8 Hyundai i20 WRC alongside his co-driver Marc Martí for his fourth FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) event of 2014 at the asphalt event which he won last season. Bouffier will join Hyundai Shell World Rally Team for his first WRC event in the Hyundai i20 WRC alongside his co-driver



Xavier Panseri. The Frenchman, who has been test driver for the team so far this season, will drive the #20 car in Germany and will compete under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner. He recently claimed the first rally win for the Hyundai i20 WRC, taking victory in Rallye Antibes with the team. The line-up of Neuville, Sordo and Bouffier will maintain

the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team’s three car approach for the third consecutive event as the team continues to develop its car in its maiden season in WRC. The Kiwi crew of Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, who are contesting Rally Finland, will skip Rallye Deutschland but will return to the #20 Hyundai i20 WRC at Rally Australia in September.

Marquez targets nine out of nine Runaway MotoGP world championship leader Marc Marquez targets a ninth win from as many races at the German Grand Prix with the flying Spaniard on course to have the title wrapped up in record time.The Honda rider has a 72-point lead in the championship with teammate Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, both of whom have just signed new deals with their respective teams, locked in second spot. Marquez, 21, already has a successful track record at the Sachsenring having won on his las four visits -- in the 125 class in 2010, in Moto2 in 2011 and 2012 and in his first MotoGP last year. Victory will mean he would have won every race across the opening half of the season. In a stunning season, the defending champion has already become the 13th most successful rider of all-time in terms of wins, having celebrated his 40th victory at Assen two weeks ago. He now targets a 25th podium in the elite class having become the first rider to claim eight straight wins since the top category was introduced at the start of 2002. Only six other riders in history

having won eight or more MotoGP races in a single season -- Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Rossi, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi, the 35-year-old nine-time world champion across all classes, heads to Germany having extended his contract with Yamaha until 2016. “It’s great because this was my target, I wanted to continue, I am feeling good and I’m motivated to keep giving my best,” said the Italian. Rossi who first won the 125cc world title in 1997 before moving up to claim global honours in the 250cc category two years later, has since added seven world titles at the highest level. If he finishes on the podium at the weekend, he will become the first rider ever to rack up 4000 career points. Pedrosa has also signed an extension to his Honda deal which will keep him on board until 2016. “I’m very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team, and grateful to Honda for the trust they have shown in me for a further two years,” said the Spaniard.

Going on a train – boon or bane? The railroad is coming to Oman sometime soon and I hope that the advent of the iron road somehow intersects with one’s existence here. It promises a lot for the country – including economic growth in hitherto under-developed regions as well as the honeypot of generating employment. It couldn’t come too soon for one’s liking. Having spent my growing years as a wannabe steam train driver (well before I figured that being a pilot was more my game) the train and rail travel have been desirable. But then the train still remains the principal means of transport in many countries, moving millions of people, country loads of cargo and connecting distant cities with one another. The high-speed and ultra high-speed trains that are part of the landscape of Japan, China, France and Germany serve as the perfect foil to air travel and all the noxious high-altitude spewing of deadly hydrocarbons. You get into a train in a conveniently located city-centre station and get off in a couple of hours at your destination, often a short walk from it. There is none of the pre and post travel time lag that frequents going to a modern airport and usually the trip is far cheaper. That’s the sort of travel that one hopes to see in the region. On the other hand, a recent holiday in the United States has also shown me what can happen in a country that doesn’t prioritise rail travel for passenger movement. The premise remains the same – point-to-point convenience with an affordable price tag. However, it is the only country where I have seen express trains being sidelined so that a freight train could pass. It somehow runs contrary to the much-vaunted American stereotype of valuing a person above anything else. If you partner it with their armed forces motto of “No man will be left behind”, the railways will say, “Unless a freight train needs to pass”. It isn’t as if the continental United States cannot do with more tracks, more trains and faster ones at that. Even a conversation with the train’s conductor brought out frank admiration from him about the train systems of the Europeans and Japanese.

Raj Warrior is editor of Automan and has been in the thick of the Automotive journalism field from the past 15 years.

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But then, what do you do in a country where the automobile is an extension of one’s nether regions. You don’t feel at ease unless you have car keys jangling in your pocket. Even New York’s Manhattan borough, which is connected by bus systems, subway, light rail and Amtrak is buzzing with taxis and private vehicles despite sky high parking fees, toll charges for using both modes of entry and exit into it – tunnels and bridges and even charges for valet parking everywhere. Now why on earth wouldn’t you use the train? However, the train system is limited in its reach beyond the immediate metropolitan area. And unless you are a hard-core New Yorker, you hate to walk anywhere. Yes, you will jog in the full blaze of the midday sun for the exercise, but walk? No way. Often, it is that last mile connectivity that prevents one from taking the train. Just as it is the last twenty mile connectivity that makes the train better than the aircraft on occasion. There are important lessons to be learnt by planners and decision makers before making huge investments in the railway system. How do people get there? Will they need to pay through their noses to park their cars? And are we also putting in monorail, subways and buses to get the last connect in? If we benchmark Dubai’s metro system, it has certainly outperformed initial expectations by becoming a mass transit system of sorts. What remains to be seen is how many car drivers choose the metro over their cars for the daily commute? Some time soon we should be able to travel to Dubai by train. As I said at the outset, I may even join the journey. That said, I’ll hang on to my car keys if you don’t mind.

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JUNE 2014

Automan 156  

Automan issue of August 2014 (Issue no 156)

Automan 156  

Automan issue of August 2014 (Issue no 156)