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now, the region’s Best Automotive resource July 2016 Issue no 178

BMW’s all-new M2 proves to be a blast

Mulsanne Speed AMG GT R Audi S5, Toyota C-HR

KIA Cadenza

New wheels

6-11 Ferrari Oman Organises a media test drive OF the new 488 spider and CaliFOrnia t

OmaN aNd regiONal News

12-15 regiOnal debut OF the inFiniti Q30 nears, maerasti Oman ramadan OFFer, renault truCks prOduCtiOn in saudi arabia, mitsubishi COnduCts rOad shOws, audi spOnsOrs art shOw, watChes and mOdel Cars FOr the savvy shOpper, phantOm Zenith COlleCtiOn in dubai, h-d annOunCes battle OF the kings winner, tOwell autO gets new COO.


iNterNatiONal News

16-17 CamarO annOunCes CamarO 50 years events, renault launChes alaskan piCk-up, nissan Creates gt-r drOne, lambOrghini launChes museum and miura tOur,



18-21 brexit and its eFFeCt On the uk based Car manuFaCturers, vOlkswagen grOup annOunCes new strategy, speCial editiOn aventadOr pays hOmmage tO the miura, nO mOre dOdge vipers aFter 2017, antOn yelChin dies, Felix weller mOves tO eurOpe, pOsitive Crash test results FOr tiguan and giuilia

Face tO Face

22-25 an interview with giuliO Zauner, regiOnal general manager OF Ferrari

cOver stOry

26-33 we get Our First taste OF the reCently launChed bmw m2

rOad tests

34-39 2016 lexus gs 460 h 40-45 2016 hOnda CiviC 46-49 2016 linCOln navigatOr

First drive

50-55 2017 kia CadenZa

special stOry

56-61 2016 gOOdwOOd Festival OF speed


62-65 merCedes-benZ amg gt r 66-69 bentley mulsanne speed 70-71 2016 audi s5 COupé 72-73 2017 tOyOta C-hr


74-75 le mans 76-79 FOrmula One at austria, baku,

Canada and mOtOgp at spain


80 abOut selF-pilOting Cars

editor-in-chief Mohammad Al taie

AL roYA PreSS & PUBLiShinG PO Box: 343, Postal Code 118 Al Harthy Complex, Sultanate of Oman

Website: facebook: AutomanMag twitter: automanmag instagram: automanmag

PUBLiSher hatim Al taie

finAnce & AdMin Sumy Mol

distribution: Tel: +968 24652400/1/2/3/4/5 Extn 555, Subscription: Tel: +968 24652400/1/2/3/4/5 Extn 650 MAnAGed And ProdUced BY: MAnAGinG editor raj Warrior contriBUtinG editorS chandan Basu Mallik Anne Kurian deSiGn conSULtAnt Antony Karlo PhotoGrAPhY elvis John ferrao

Can we even think of entering this edition without talking about the surprise results of #brexit. not so surprising, if you were naturally sceptical like our editor. the underlying characteristic of the referendum is the win of the sceptic. did you think that the vote would go the other way? The difference was finally down to two percentage points both ways of the mid-point, so you really call this an emphatic result, but it seems to be a binding one. The first fallout has been the impending resignation of the prime minister and a whole lot of uncertainity about the future positioning of the united kingdom in relation to its european neighbours. how did this come to pass? to begin with, the uk seems like the ideal candidate to exit the union. It never really bought in to the grouping in the first place, retaining its position outside the schengen visa-free travel zone, kept its own currency and actually negotiated a sort of a-la-carte membership that allowed it to satisfy many of the demands of its eurosceptic politicians. but that was obviously not enough, especially when the term brussels began to mean much more than just being belgium’s capital. the b-word was bandied around the parliaments and media of those member countries who weren’t happy with the restrictions placed on them by a common set of rules. if there was anything that went wrong in the economy, blaming brussels offered the easy way out in front of the domestic vote bank. Conversely, all the upsides to the economy were courtesy of the astute local politician. Obviously, this formula runs on limited time. does this event effect us here in Oman and the wider gCC region? even when the uk actually exits the eu, not much will change about how citizens of the wider world will interact with the two. thankfully, the integration isn’t all that comprehensive – you still need to apply directly to the uk for visits. perhaps with the downward pressure on the sterling, some things may get cheaper – buying houses in london, investing in the uk or even buying cars made there. but that won’t last – the currency will eventually strengthen, real estate demand will pick up on lower prices and car prices will rise.

for Advertising & Marketing enquiries: diStriBUtion United ArAB eMirAteS dar Al hikma LLc Tel: +971-4-2665394 | Fax: +971-4-2669827

the biggest change will be felt by the citizen of the uk who no longer has the might of the club to fall back on. it’ll also be felt by the second and third generation immigrant britons who will fall foul of an increasingly xenophobic environment that has only been fuelled further by the rhetoric surrounding the brexit debate. whatever happens in the future, the change is only the latest addon to this decade’s saga of war, mass migration and economic uncertainity.

Printer Al Anan Printing Press LLc Tel: +968 24446163 | Fax: +968 24446287 | © 2016 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 Automan. 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 Automan.

Automan is now in its 16th year of publication. Expect a great deal from us through the year in terms of all your favourite automotive content

NEWWHEELS 2016 Ferrari Drive event

Ferrari Oman showcases 488Spider and California


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Ferrari Oman hosted an event for Oman’s media that gave them an opportunity to drive the new 488 Spider and the California T on the roads around the capital Author: Raj Warrior | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao

Unlike the editorial team here at Automan, many of Oman’s media never get a chance to drive a supercar or indeed any top sportscar of any nature. So it is for them that Ferrari Oman laid out a day’s driving. The event began with the importer’s assistant general manager, Mohamed Al Zawawy, giving a presentation on the cars and an overview of the drive route. The 488 is Ferrari’s next step in the development of the excellent midrange sportscar platform. While the principal changes in the new car are the retractable hardtop and small changes in the exterior styling, the car itself is also seen as the replacement to the the outgoing 458 Spider. Now, both the cars being showcased here were kitted out with Ferrari’s new generation of V8 turbocharged engine – with a much more responsive midrange as well as unique torque management that offers a gearing linked torque delivery that reserves the maximum torque output for the seventh gear. Of course, with the needs of better fuel efficiency being felt across the board for international car manufacturers the engines are also able to offer an economy mode that drops consumption

to a minimum. In terms of performance, both the cars have varying profiles, with the high performance 488 Spider being tuned for a maximum output of 670PS on top of a very significant 760Nm of torque. The sound of these engines is tuned to be as close to that of a naturally aspirated engine, through the use of equal length inlet and exhaust pipes. The California T’s V8 turbocharged engine is ever so slightly down-tuned from that of the 488 Spider. The maximum power is 560PS and torque is 755Nm. Both the cars also benefit from the presence of Ferrari’s 7-speed F1 type gearshift as well as their magnetic ride control system that uses magnetically charged fluid in the dampers to instantly respond to inputs from the control unit. The open top arrangement of both the cars is also quite different having to factor in the different position of the engine, with a more compact arrangement needed for the 488 Spider. Since we’ve tested both the cars before, we’ll just reproduce the driving impressions and verdict from those drives below:

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Driving impressions – 488 Spider Whether you leave the manettino in Sport or Race, the feeling is the same although there’s a difference in degree of thrust. The engine loves being revved and we can fully comprehend the reason for the performance figures on the car. It matches the GTB in almost every department. The beauty about the Ferrari cabin is of course how everything is centred in on the driver’s wheel and instrument binnacle. The centre console is completely secondary and may not exist in your umwelt as you floor the accelerator and speed away. The progression through the gears is almost comical in its simplicity. Tap, tap, tap and you are already at highly illegal speeds, while the tachometer very happily invites you upwards to the 7000rpm redline. With a slightly bad stretch of road ahead all we had to do was hit the

damper control with the left thumb and go off the gas pedal for a heartbeat. Even the position of the turn indicators is just perfect. We’ve had the privilege of throwing the GTB around a hard corner with side slip control at its best , allowing us to slide into a turn at very high speeds while maintaining our intended path. We didn’t want to try the system on the Spider on public roads, but know what its capable of with the electronic bodyguard on-board. Verdict We’ve been asked this question before, at an event where another sports car was being highlighted and our answer is still pretty much that if we had the money to spend, the sports car in this category that we would most likely buy would be the 488. With the Spider the appeal has become just a little bit more intense. And can you blame us for it?

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Driving Impressions – California T 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 chaffing to run. Third gear has a range to it that seems 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.


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Verdict 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.

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Regional Debut of Infiniti Q30 Nears The regional launch of the first ever Infiniti Q30 premium active compact draws near as the all-new vehicle is set to be unveiled in July. Since launch in Europe, sales for the Infiniti Q30 have been phenomenal with 5,415 vehicles sold since the start of the year. “With a strong performance in Europe so far, we are confident that the introduction of this vehicle will further help to drive the growth of the Infiniti brand here in

the Middle East,” said Juergen Schmitz, Managing Director, Infiniti Middle East. Driver and passenger seating have been constructed for enhanced comfort and support with an elevated hip-point, aiding the in-control sense that combines well with Q30’s sharp dynamics on city streets or country roads. “When we unveiled the Infiniti Q30 at the Dubai International Motor Show in 2015, it was to mass appeal from our existing and

potential customers. As July draws nearer, I can only reiterate the excitement as we get ready to take the covers of this all-new vehicle for the Middle East region,” added Schmitz. “With the Q30, we are entering a new segment for Infiniti and further enhancing our product offering to our customers.” The Infiniti Q30 will be available across all markets in the Middle East by the end of July, 2016.

Maserati Oman exclusive Ramadan offer This year, to mark the occasion of Ramadan, Alfardan Motors – the official dealer of Maserati in Oman – has announced an exciting new offer for its clients. In line with the month’s spirit of giving, the exclusive offer reflects Alfardan Motors’ commitment to serve clients through deferred monthly payments until 2017. This means that customers will be able to buy a Maserati Ghibli or Quattroporte during Ramadan and start paying their monthly payments in 2017. Additionally, customers will enjoy three 12

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years warranty and three years maintenance. Commenting on the Ramadan initiative Mr. Mohamed El Zawawy, Assistant General Manager of Alfardan Motors said: “Ramadan is the month of charity and community and the Alfardan team believes in giving something back to our customers at this wonderful time of the year. One of our methods is to introduce new deals throughout the month, for the benefit for the Omani people. As a company, we are committed to exceeding our clients’ expectations.”

(AVI), based in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). A milestone for Arabian Vehicles & Trucks Industry and for the French truck manufacturer, the first Saudibuilt Renault Trucks have

Mitsubishi Conducts Roadshows across Oman

General Automotive Company (GAC), the official distributors of Mitsubishi vehicles in Oman, has conducted several roadshows across the country. Over the course of one month, the roadshows visited various public locations in Ibri, Ibra,Sinaw,Barka, Sohar, Sumail, Nizwa, Sur and Salalah. The roadshows put on display all the vehicles available as part of the Mitsubishi Ramadan offer, including the new Montero Sport, while also offering any visitors the opportunity to test drive each of them. Commenting on the roadshows, Manoj Ranade, General Manager of GAC said, “These roadshows were

conducted on predetermined days at each location. We also conducted them at areas popular with the public, providing them with a convenient opportunity to get a feel of each of these vehicles and test them first hand without having to visit the showroom.” Customers who purchase a Mitsubishi before the offer comes to a close on July 24 will enjoy the benefits of a combination of free insurance for the first year, up to a six years/100,000Km Service Package, Free Registration, six years free roadside assistance, six years unlimited mileage warranty and a cash gift of up to OMR 3,000.

the first of many Saudi-built Renault Trucks roll off our assembly line. Although the facility layout derives from our group’s lean manufacturing production system, this milestone could not have been achieved without the efforts of our highly-trained Saudi workforce.” Arabian Vehicles & Trucks Industry Ltd (AVI), is a joint venture between Zahid Tractor & Heavy Machinery Co. Ltd and Volvo Trucks Corporation, which owns Renault Trucks. Implementing a new concept for an efficient and costeffective truck assembly, the AVI facility is one of the first in the world to produce both Volvo and Renault trucks on the same assembly line.

Audi Oman supports BSM Exhibition of Fine Art To help build a more inspired and creative society, Audi Oman recently sponsored the British School Muscat Exhibition of Fine Art. Faisal Nawaz, Marketing Manager of Audi Oman, said, “We were pleased to support and sponsor the art exhibition that features work by the talented students of British School Muscat. As a progressive brand, Audi believes in supporting the creative journey of young people. This is a unique opportunity for the students to showcase their work at an early age. We would like to praise the efforts of British School Muscat staff and Oman Society for Fine Arts for giving a platform to these young artistic minds. In order to encourage the power of their imagination, such exhibitions are truly essential. At Audi, we are very keen to encourage such creative pursuits.” A spokesperson for the British School Muscat said, “We organised the exhibition because we felt it is vital to celebrate our students’ talent in special manner. We are thankful to Audi Oman for sponsoring this exhibition which recognises students’ creativity and aesthetic sensibilities. This support will encourage more students to explore art in the future.” David Ryan, GM Audi Oman, inaugurates British School Muscat Exhibition of Fine Art JUL 2016



The new era of Renault Trucks in Saudi Arabia started recently with the assembly of its first C & K range models at its newly built state-of-the-art assembly facility of Arabian Vehicles & Trucks Industry Co. Ltd.

been assembled through the collaboration of a number of Renault-trained technicians, engineers, quality and logistics personnel from Bourg-enbresse, and a highly trained local AVI team . Lars-Erik Forsbergh, Renault Trucks Middle East President said: “Our facility in KAEC further cements our commitment of providing unrivalled transport solutions throughout the Middle East. Through the support of our local importer Zahid Tractor and AVI we hope to continue to service the demanding construction, infrastructure and transport sectors in the region and set new standards in the region’s trucking industry. “We are delighted to see

Oman & region

First Saudi-built Renault Truck rolls out

SHOPSAVVY Objects of Desire

Get an Ice-Watch BMW Motorsport

The Breitling Superocean 44 Special Luxury Swiss watchmaker and aviation chronograph specialist, Breitling, has introduced the newest member to its sought-after Superocean collection. Taking inspiration from the excellent readability of aviator-type watches, Breitling has unveiled the new Superocean 44 Special to its Middle East customers – their very own “ocean pilot”. This new model embodies the range’s history with an original design, while maintaining its authenticity as a true diver’s watch. The Superocean 44 Special features a black steel case, black dial bearing large luminescent indications and a black ceramic bezel, ensuring perfect readability for divers at depths of up to 1,000 m (3,300 ft).

1:18 Mercedes-AMG G 63 in “crazy colours” Ice-Watch is launching a premium collection in the livery of the prestigious motor manufacturer, BMW. Each model features a rugged contoured case in 316 L steel, a knurled steel bezel that resembles a wheel rim and a dial laid out like a dashboard.

The Unique Urban Spirit Helmet Montblanc has created two, masculine and contemporary companions for his daily motorcycle adventures. Both helmets are inspired by the simplicity of the racing helmets from the 1970s with a modern edge. A design combining tactile Urban Spirit plain with the perforated leather of racing gloves. Moulded on a shell with a refracting coating. A full-face helmet provides a protective black visor , while the other one is an open face helmet with a mirrored visor. 14

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The name says it all: “Crazy Colours” is a special colour option package for the G-Class. Those who want to make their G63 individual with an eyecatching effect can choose between five exclusive exterior body-paints. These “crazy colours” also have individual characteristics. Mercedes-Benz GmbH implements these fresh cool crazy colours in a 1:18 sized model car: in a limited model series of the Mercedes-AMG G 63, AMG solarbeam, sunsetbeam, aliengreen, tomatored, and galacticbeam are all available. There will be exactly 463 units pro “crazy colour”, matching the internal code W463. “1 of

463“ will be indicated on the underbody of each one of these special edition models. Made from resin, these exclusive miniatures were created in collaboration with model car specialists GT Spirit. Mercedes-AMG provided original design data for the development of the models. The level of detail is high. For example, the selection lever is not printed but displayed in three dimensions. Even the seats are accurately modelled according to the original vehicle - the distance between the honeycomb stitching is to scale. The five limited Mercedes-AMG G 63 models possess numerous options and consist of up to 100 parts.

knowledge that their numbers will never grow and their value will never be eroded by proliferation. Commenting on the launch, Mamdouh Khairallah, General Manager of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars AGMC said, “We are honoured to be offering these truly exceptional masterpieces, which have entered collections around the world and will live down the years as icons of refined taste and limitless imagination.”

HARLEY-DAVIDSON ANNOUNCES WINNER OF ‘BATTLE OF THE KINGS’ Harley-Davidson announced the winner of 2016 Battle of the Kings competition with the Harley-Davidson Athens dealership winning the ‘Custom King’ title with their bike ‘Nyx’ (shown top), the Ancient Goddess of the Night inspired build. The bike competed as one of 12 finalists across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and was chosen by a panel of custom experts. This year’s edition marked the Middle East and North Africa’s first participation in the international competition represented by HarleyDavidson Casablanca and Kuwait, which

competed regionally. The competition witnessed 211 dealers from across Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) striving for the title of top custom bike builder for the 2016 winner-takes-all contest based on customising the all-new Sportster Iron 883. The Casablanca dealership was among the 12 champions that made it to the final stage of the competition. Thierry Brouillet and Laurent Zagury, developed a café racer concept (shown bottom) inspired by the design of the 1920’s motorcycles, while using current technology.

Towell Auto announces new COO

Towell Auto Centre (TAC), a leading automobile distributor in Oman and the region, has recently announced the promotion of Saud Abdulla Al Zadjali as the Chief Operating Officer – Legal and Corporate Affairs of the Company. In his new role, Saud Zadjali will look after the legal and corporate matters of TAC

including crafting solutions to help TAC address legal and public policy issues and finding innovative solutions to corporate concerns and so on. With an undergraduate degree in law and master’s in business management, Saud Zadjali has more than two decades of experience in his industry. He has been with TAC for 14 years.

The regional office of Mercedes-Benz has announced the arrival of the new SLC in the region. “Compact, powerful and economical, the new SLC offers drivers pure AMG driving pleasure in a compact and stylish open-top two-seater.” said Dirk Fetzer, Vice President & Director of Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East & Levant. Beginning from the entry SLC200, the car is also offered as an AMG version as the SLC43AMG with a 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine with 362bhp and a 0-60mph rating of 4.6 seconds. JUL 2016



Rolls-Royce Motor Cars AGMC celebrated the arrival of the Phantom Zenith Collection, which represents some of the very last Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé motorcars ever to be built, in a private ceremony with a selection of customers recently. Only fifty of these highly-sought collectibles will be built, commissioned by connoisseur customers who will add them to some of the world’s most significant luxury collections, safe in the

Oman & region

Phantom Zenith Collection Debut

Chevrolet Announces Camaro 50th Anniversary Activities Fifty years to the day after the Camaro name was publically revealed, Chevrolet today announced plans to commemorate Camaro’s 50th anniversary this summer during the Woodward Dream Cruise presented by Chevrolet. “Over the past half-century, the Camaro has fostered enthusiasm, camaraderie and memories like few other vehicles,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director of Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “It’s a

passion Chevrolet takes seriously and the activities this summer are a way of giving back to those who have made the Camaro an icon.” The Camaro 50th Anniversary Celebration kicks off Aug. 18 at the Lansing Grand River plant, near downtown Lansing, Michigan. Chevrolet will host Camaro owners and enthusiasts throughout the day, with a car show, heritage display and discussions with Camaro team members, including

Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser. The public got its first look at the all-new Camaro in September 1966. In its first model year, the Camaro achieved 220,906 sales. FAST FACT: When asked about the meaning of Camaro upon its introduction, some Chevrolet managers reportedly said it was a small, vicious animal that ate Mustangs.

Automobili Lamborghini Inaugurates New Museum and Waves Off The 50th Anniversary Miura Tour Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, inaugurated the new Lamborghini Museum at the company’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese near Bologna. The museum’s layout and displays have been completely renovated, providing a new visitor experience including multimedia displays and activities. The inauguration was held to coincide with the first stage of the Miura Tour, the owners’ rally celebrating the iconic super sports car’s 50th anniversary, with a journey of over 500 km through the Italian regions of Emilia, Liguria and Tuscany. The participants’ 20 Miuras, put on display at the heart of the company, were saluted by a flyby of four Eurofighters from the 36th Stormo Caccia 16

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(fighter squadron) of the Gioia del Colle airbase near Bari in southern Italy. The new Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Lt. Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, was present. Stefano Domenicali remarked: “The inauguration of the new Museum on the same day as the Miura Tour sets off, sends out a clear signal on Lamborghini’s commitment to honoring its history. The Museum, which has been designed as an authentic experience for visitors, will be a key attraction for an ever-increasing number of arrivals from around the world. The new layout now provides a richer experience of the world of Lamborghini where our history, engines, design and technology come together in a journey from the brand’s past to its future.”

Light commercial vehicles are a major strategic market especially in Latin America. In 2015, 15 million LCVs has been sold in the world and the segment pick-ups account for more than one-third of total LCV sales: 5 million units worldwide. “This stunning vehicle provides us with the means to fulfil the needs of professional users and individual customers around the world. With ALASKAN, we are on track to take Renault’s LCV Division forward from being a top regional player to a top global player,” said Ashwani Gupta - VP, Groupe Renault’s Global Head of Light Commercial Vehicles Business.

Nissan creates GT-R drone: 0-100 in just 1.3 seconds

Nissan unveiled the GT-R Drone – one of the fastest accelerating FPV (First Person View) racing drones in the world. Claimed to be built to be able to keep up with the new 2017 Nissan GT-R while filming on the track, the drone features the very latest in performanceenhancing technology. Custom designed by World Drone Prix Champions, Tornado XBlades Racing, the GT-R Drone uses a special ‘race tuned’ configuration and lowdrag canopy to reach 100kph from a standstill in just 1.3 seconds. To show off the talents of both

machines, the GT-R Drone took on the road-going supercar around the Silverstone circuit. The GT-R Drone delivers incredible acceleration via four propellers mated with 2000kV XNova motors and race specification Sky-Hero quadcopter frame. The race saw Nissan NISMO driver Ricardo Sanchez take the wheel of the new GT-R with James Bowles, the 2015 British National Drone Racing champion, piloting the GT-R Drone around a purpose-built 1.2-mile course at Silverstone. The GT-R Drone has a top speed of approximately 185kph.

World record attempt Adventurer Rainier Zietlow will set off at the end of June on a world-record attempt to drive from the eastern-most point of the Asian continent in Magadan to the western-most point of continental Europe in Lisbon. The attempt is planned for a timeframe of eight days and will be done in a Volkswagen Touareg shod with Goodyear tyres. “Rainer will have to drive on

many different surfaces, such as tarmac, gravel and mud, and in various weather in dry as well as in rainy conditions,” Alexis Bortoluzzi, Marketing Director EMEA at Goodyear explains. “And since he will not have the time to change tires, we equipped him with a set of tires that can really perform during the long and challenging ride, and that, like every Goodyear tyre, will do so reliably.” JUL 2016



Renault has announced the global launch of its new lightweight one-tonne pickup called the Alaskan. The new vehicle was launched in Colombia, one of the key markets for the brand in its attempts to become a global LCV player. The platform of the Alaskan has a fully boxed frame and a five-link rear suspension, a 2.3-litre dCi engine and off-road capability from its 4WD setup. “ALASKAN’s design includes assertive dimensions and a visual impression of power and strength. It is the perfect companion for leisure use and everyday motoring,” said Laurens van den Acker, Groupe Renault SVP, corporate design.


Renault introduces Alaskan Pick-up

Brexit to affect UK-based automotive industry? In 2015, Britain built 1.59mn and contributed £15bn to the economy. UK is also headquarters for seven mainstream manufacturers, eight premium manufacturers, seven Formula One teams, six design studios, 13 R&D centres and over 100 specialist brands. Car majors like Toyota, Honda etc chose the UK as major manufacturing operations in Europe because of the open and free access to the European market. Now, that could be affected and naturally, some of these players are wary. The first reactions from industry

Automan’s take

are also not so encouraging. Prior to the vote, Germany’s auto industry had clearly warned that a potential trade dispute between Europe and Britain in the aftermath of a Brexit could put British production sites at risk in form of capital flight. And within 48-hours of the announcement, stock markets worldwide reacted and saw auto players share prices tumble. Here’s the list of auto-related manufacturers which have taken hits [eds note: percentages are relative as the stock prices are still in flux].

Brexit is, for the UK, the most significant event in its recent history. As uncertainty looms over the economic ramifications of this historic move, the UK, which is one of the largest automotive manufacturing hubs in Europe, must now decide how to move forward with this exit. This has significance as in a world where political, social and business alliances are increasingly via ‘blocs’, the UK has presented itself with new opportunities and challenges at the same time. About 75per cent of the vehicles manufactured in the UK are destined for export, with Europe taking a sizable chunk. The biggest task the UK government has in the coming days is to work out what sort of tariffs will be imposed on imports and exports and how impacted labour and employment will be handled, and in a worst case scenario, if manufacturing were to be forced out of UK.


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General Motors










Fiat Chrysler Automobiles














ambitious goal of introducing more than 30 new electric vehicles [EVs] by 2025 and boosting the annual unit sales target of 2mn to 3mn units. The automaker wants to increase the ratio of EVs to 25per cent of group sales. Müller said the company would be cutting a number of contemporary models, but no numbers, models, or affected brand details were discussed. Interestingly, VW will be focusing intensively on battery technology and intends to make this one of the group’s new core competencies. It was also announced that the group would adjust its profitability target to only 6 or 7per cent by 2025, in part by cutting research and development budgets, along with general expenses. In 2014, Volkswagen spent more than $13bn on research and development.

Automan’s take

In perspective, VAG was initially slow to adopt electric cars, in part, because it invested so heavily in so-called “clean diesel” strategy which seems to have hopelessly backfired. VW will likely become more dependent on markets like China if it wants to achieve its annual target of 3mn EVs as it is nearly impossible to sell EVs at a profit in the US. The Chinese are serious about reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The group will also need to work out its alliances with specialist technology partners as successful alliances will be the key to achieving the business goal.

Special edition Lamborghini Aventador revealed

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura and the supercar maker is paying tribute to the icon. It’s called the Miura Homage and is actually a special-edition based on the production Aventador. the

newly revealed edition will be a limited run production model. Only 50 units will be made. The Miura is unarguably the most iconic Lamborghini of all time. At the time of its launch in 1966, it became the first

road-car to adopt a mid-engine rear-wheel drive layout. And because it was powered by a mighty 3.9-litre V12 engine churning out 345bhp, the Miura was also the fastest roadgoing production car when it went on sale. JUL 2016



Last month, Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller announced a new business strategy for the company that includes a major focus on electric vehicles and new technology services. The announcement comes at a time when Volkswagen is still struggling from the impact of the diesel emissions scandal that broke last year in the US. Müller indicated that the strategy shift represents the biggest change process in the company’s history. “This [plan] will require us—following the serious setback as a result of the diesel issue—to learn from mistakes made, rectify shortcomings and establish a corporate culture that is open, value-driven and rooted in integrity,” Mueller said. According to the plan, “Together - Strategy 2025” also indicates VW’s intention to utilize other companies’ expertise. Müller has an


Volkswagen Group to fast track new business strategy

Mercedes-Benz to expand GT line-up for road and track F1 driver Lewis Hamilton was present at the 585hp Mercedes GT R launch recently. By far, the AMG GT R is being touted as the coolest AMG GT variant produced so far. With the early success of the GT3 program and the development of this R model, a lesser track-only version does seem like a natural next step. The third and most hardcore member of the AMG GT family adds power and cuts weight for superior performances. On the racing front, that means a GT4 version that will slot in below the GT3 car that obliterated the class at this year’s Nürburgring 24 Hours. [See preview elsewhere in the magazine]

No hope for Saab Swedish automaker Saab has been in and out of news since 2014. Now it has been confirmed by Saab’s current owner that it won’t revive the Saab nameplate and will instead sell cars under the NEVS brand. According to a statement released recently: “From today onwards, we are NEVS – both on a company and product level. With that comes a new logo, a new look and a reinstated commitment to, and focus on, electric vehicles and mobility solutions.” NEVS is owned by investors in China and lays claim to Saab’s 69-year-old heritage, but not the Saab name.

Kia tops JD Power’s initial quality survey Kia Motors has overtaken Porsche to take the top spot in JD Power’s Initial Quality Survey for 2016 and it is the first time the Korean automaker took the top spot.

Automan’s take

Kia Motors success effectively ends a 27-year drought for non-luxury brands at the top of the quality list. The report rated initial quality through a survey of problems reported by new car buyers within 90 days after their purchase. The study surveys 233 criteria separated into eight categories.


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No more production Dodge Vipers after MY2017

Here’s the last chance to own a Dodge Viper and become member of an exclusive club as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on one hand celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Dodge Viper and on the other plans to discontinue it. This means for the second time in less than a decade, the Viper is motoring into FCA’s vault, where it was also stored from 2010 to 2012. FCA says that the 2017 model year will be the Viper’s last. Then upside for Viper fans is that FCA is offering five limited-edition models

before the permanent retirement. These are: • 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer), which commemorates the current Laguna Seca single-lap record of 1:28.65, recorded by Randy Pobst driving a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR in October 2015. Limit: 28 units. • GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR, which pays tribute to the Viper’s iconic white-and-blue paint scheme from 1998. Limit: 100 units. • VoooDoo II Edition ACR, a dark-themed Viper

with red highlights that’s modeled after the 2010 Viper VooDoo edition. Limit: 31 units. Snakeskin Edition GTC, featuring a Snakeskin Green exterior and a snakeskin-patterned SRT stripe. Limit: 31 units. Dodge Dealer Edition, which will be an allwhite model available only through two high-volume Viper dealers: Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Illinois. Limit: 33 units.

Electric cars gain in latest FCA agenda Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, strongly believes that there’s a bright future for fully electric cars in an extended portfolio of Maserati and Fiat brands. “I’ve always thought the economic model that supports Tesla is something that Fiat Chrysler could replicate as we have the brand and the vehicles to do it,” said Marchionne. In real terms, this means Maserati

could get a two-door sports electric vehicle and Fiat a small city EV. The Maserati model i will be based on the future production version of the Alfieri coupe. Marchionne, however, confirmed it isn’t scheduled for a debut until after he retires as a CEO in 2019. Fiat’s small city car is planned to become the brand’s first EV to be sold in Europe, as currently the marque is offering an electric version of the 500

only in North America.

Automan’s take

Sergio Marchionne’s statement has been recently backed up by FCA’s technology officer Harald Wester. Wester has announced that future Alfa Romeo models could also get electrified versions, as they will be based on an architecture that can support “everything from plug-in hybrid to full electric.”

Torque vectoring technology to be introduced in future Mazdas

for Middle East Operations. Earlier in his career, Weller held various positions in sales, strategy and dealer development at both Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Hollywood celebrity killed in freak accident Anton Yelchin, the 27-year old actor who played Chekov in the latest Star Trek films, was killed in a car accident on June 19. According to reports, Yelchin’s Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward and pinned him against a brick wall. The coroner ruled the actor’s death was an accident from “blunt traumatic asphyxia.” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has already issued a safety campaign for 1.1 million vehicles worldwide, including the 20142015 Grand Cherokee, because people might exit the models without being in park due to a potentially confusing shifter design. This problem could cause the affected vehicles to roll away. FCA US will open an investigation into the crash that killed Anton Yelchin. However, officials do not yet know whether this issue has a connection to the actor’s death. Meanwhile, as expected in the US, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been hit with a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of hiding a shifter design defect in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The lawsuit alleges the company tried to cover up hundreds of accidents caused by the unintuitive

shifter and hasn’t properly addressed the problem.

Mazda announced last month that its all-new dynamics-enhancing G-Vectoring Control system that is designed to improve stability, driveability and comfort, and will be rolled out across the various models in the brand’s car and SUV line-up. The technology will debut in the facelifted Mazda3 small and will be followed early next year by the Mazda6 as part of the mid-sizer’s second update since launch, before being rolled out to the rest of the SkyActiv range which covers all models except the BT-50 utility. Mazda has not released market specific details for cars with this technology.

Particulate filters to be introduced in VW petrol cars In the wake of the diesel cheat device scandal that has cost billions of dollars for Volkswagen, the German carmaker announced recently it will cut particulate emissions from its new-generation petrol engine cars by up to 90 per cent using diesel-style particulate filters on the exhaust systems. The technology will be phased in on new models and VW says that by 2022, it aims to produce up to seven million vehicles a year with this technology application.

Positive crash test results for new Tiguan and Giulia The soon-to-arrive VW Tiguan SUV and Alfa Romeo’s Giulia mid-size sedan which are significant models for their respective brands have both received a maximum five-star safety rating by the European NCAP crash-test authority. A key element in their high rating was the standard inclusion of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems, which help avoid or mitigate collisions with other cars and pedestrians.

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Cadillac has appointed Felix Weller to the position of vice president, Europe, effective September 1, 2016. Weller will report to Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, joining the global executive team from his current position as managing director, Cadillac Middle East. Weller succeeds Dr. Andreas Schaaf, who recently assumed the role of vice president, Cadillac China. In his new role, Weller will lead European operations for Cadillac. This includes responsibility for the brand’s sales, marketing, network and customer experience functions as well as driving strategies to deliver premium products and services across the region. “Felix has a deep understanding of the Cadillac business and the luxury market as he’s demonstrated while leading our Middle East organization,” said de Nysschen. “I look forward to having him on Cadillac’s global executive team and partnering with him as we continue to grow the European business.” Weller joined General Motors in 2014 as regional director, sales and marketing for Cadillac, where he was responsible



Weller heading for Europe

Ferraris Regional General Manager Giulio Zauner speaks on various aspects of the luxury and sportscar business in the GCC region. What are your plans for 2016? Ferrari are and always have been the leader of classic design and superior performance. We bridge the gap between the uniquely storied heritage of the Prancing Horse which has come to encapsulate Italian joie de vivre at its most essential, and the new world of cultural and technological hegemony which the region so acutely represents. Ferrari’s innovations differ from every other car company and 2016 will continue to lead such development. Our engineering goal is to reduce emissions and consumption while, at the same time, improving overall performance. Traditionally Ferrari has always designed and built the most beautiful cars in the world, but we also need to stay at the cutting edge of technology. Turbocharging has recently been adopted on our V8s with the specific aim of achieving even more extreme performance, with the additional benefit of lowering fuel consumption and emissions. Going forward there are a number of technologies that we are looking at, including the hybrid KERS system developed thanks to our experience in F1. Ferrari is in the unique position of being able to leverage the materials technology and engineering 22

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methodology used by our F1 team when developing our engines. What attracts people in the UAE to the Ferrari brand? Excellence, heritage, prestige and track DNA. Ferrari are and always have been the leader of classic design and superior performance. We bridge the gap between the uniquely storied heritage of the Prancing Horse which has come to encapsulate Italian joie de vivre at its most essential, and the new world of cultural and technological hegemony which the UAE so acutely represents. Ferrari’s deluxe approach to bespoke automotive design is also key for the region and, when combined with razor-sharp responsiveness, blistering performance, superbly powerful acceleration at all speeds and an exhilarating soundtrack known to all Ferraris, it is apparent that it is the Ferrari DNA which is at the heart of the appeal. What are the most popular models in the UAE? Ferraris are not only timeless but unique and innovative. All our models are remarkable and specifically in the region

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face to face

world, and the ultimate symbol of style, heritage and performance. The Prancing Horse is an enduring symbol of excellence both in the UAE and globally. Ferrari is a leader in its respective market segments; sports cars as well as GT cars. However, the real key to Ferrari’s success, in the Middle Eastern market (and globally), is having the most comprehensive model line-up in its history, industry-leading free 7-year maintenance and 12-year PreOwned programs – which guarantee the best residual values – and the collector car status surrounding the marque. You can also very much track Ferrari’s successful performance to the economy. As our oil-based economy continues to diversify, we are seeing widening interest in the brand. Do you think Ferrari’s profile helps other Italian brands in the region? Absolutely, we are the market leader in the stable of prestigious Italian brands globally and in the UAE, and we are encouraged to see other brands flourish in such a diverse and prosperous market. Who would be a typical Ferrari buyer in the UAE? A Ferrari buyer is a discerning client who demands excellence. They value individuality and flair as much as performance and drive a Ferrari for the experience, the thrill, the passion and the values of the heritage and innovation.

the California T, F12berlinetta and FF have been incredibly popular. However, what always generates the most excitement and anticipation is the release of a new model, and 2015 marks the arrival of the 488 GTB. How has Ferrari’s presence grown in the UAE over the years? Ferrari is a leader in its respective market segments; sports cars as well as GT cars. However, the real key to Ferrari’s success, in the UAE and globally, is having the most comprehensive model line-up in


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its history, industry-leading free 7-year maintenance and 12-year Pre-Owned programs – which guarantee the best residual values – and the collector car status surrounding the marque. You can also very much track Ferrari’s successful performance to the economy. As our oilbased economy continues to diversify, we are seeing widening interest in the brand. How can you describe the Middle Eastern market? The perception of Ferrari in the region mirrors that of the rest of the world. It is one of the most powerful brands in the

Popular models such as the California T represent a more versatile lifestyle purchase. The California T combines practicality and performance like never before. A seven-year maintenance program, combined with a boot that is big enough to carry a full set of luggage, and an average fuel consumption of 10.5 litres for every 100 kilometers, makes the California T a brilliant interpretation of Ferrari’s sporty DNA. How have sales of Ferraris grown in the UAE since the economic crisis? Ferrari continues to bypass economic recession and experience unprecedented growth because the brand’s exclusivity is paramount. Ever since the days of the founder, Enzo Ferrari, the company’s ethos has been never to produce more cars than there is demand. Ferrari stands for exclusivity and with this comes popularity and continued demand not just in the UAE but globally. How does the automotive industry in the

UAE differ from other markets for Ferrari? The UAE is the second largest automotive market in the GCC after Saudi Arabia. The strong economic growth and solid household spending in the UAE has presented a younger purchaser for Ferrari. It has been a very fortunate place in terms of prosperity over the last 40 years and has seen younger consumers make up the supercar car segment. Who would you say are your biggest competitors in the UAE? Competition is part of our racing DNA and made us what we are; with each new model, we push the limits of technological innovation in every engineering area. Ferrari welcomes competition from other manufacturers, because it often helps to grow the sports car segment. Enzo Ferrari once said, “If you see what a competitor is doing and it is better than what you are doing, you have to surpass them to ensure your cars are better”.

What’s your biggest market in the word? The US remains Ferrari’s biggest market. The UAE is the biggest market in our region. The strong economic growth and solid household spending in the UAE has presented a younger purchaser for Ferrari. It has been a very fortunate place in terms of prosperity over the last 40 years and has seen younger consumers make up the supercar car segment. What has been the key to Ferrari’s success over the years? With innovation in mind and a respect for heritage, Ferrari is unique not only in the automotive world. We have utmost respect for the past but are not content to simply rest on what has gone before. We want to acknowledge our achievements and heritage but also continue to strive to improve every area of our cars’ performance and design, while staying true to our own brand values.

What challenges does the company face in the MENA region in the future? When it comes to the automotive sector, the legislative focus has long been on C02 emissions. This aspect is certainly the starting point for a strategy of sustainability, and is an area in which Ferrari has constantly been at the cutting edge. All our models boast class-leading emissions, thanks both to the adoption of Stop & Start technology (introduced in 2010) and the huge strides made in overall mechanical and combustion efficiency. Not forgetting that the factory itself – a unique reality in the automotive sector where every stage of the production process, from the foundry to the painting and the final assembly, is carried out – is the industry leader in terms of sustainability, having comprehensively outperformed the 2020 Kyoto protocol already since 2010, in other words 10 years early.

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2016 BMW M2

While offering a new position below the M3, BMW’s new M2 doesn’t lack any of the firepower of its bigger siblings. Automan drives the car in an exclusive drive in Dubai Author: Raj Warrior | Photography: Jorge Ferrari and Author


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Engine 3-litre inline six cylinder M TwinPower Turbo technology: TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control, DoubleVANOS variable camshaft timing Power 370 bhp / 447 kW @ 6000 rpm Torque 465 Nm / 343 lb.ft @1400-5560 rpm

Suspension Front Aluminium double-joint spring strut axle in lightweight construction with M- specific elastokinematics Rear Aluminium five-link axle in lightweight construction with M-specific elastokinematics Driving stability systems Standard: DSC incl ABS and M Dynamic Mode, CBC (Cornering Brake Control), DBC (Dynamic Brake Control), Dry Braking function, Fading Compensation, Start-Off Assistant, Active M Differential linked to Integrated Chassis Management (ICM) 28

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Brakes & Wheels Front Four-piston floating-calliper disc brakes / vented Rear Double-piston floating-calliper disc brakes / vented Wheels (F)9.0J x 19 Light Alloy (R)10.0J x 19 Light Alloy Tyres (F)245/35 ZR19 93Y (R)265/35 ZR19 98Y

Transmission 6-speed manual (7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic)

What is it about the performance coupé and sedan category that continues to draw buyers who would otherwise look at the dedicated sports car? It cannot be all about utility and the ability to take home a little more than your weekly shopping? And it cannot be about style. But cars like BMW’s M3, M5 and M6 have been drawing affluent customers who aren’t just out to prove that they can pay a whole lot more for their regular sedan. In fact, you just have to poll the universe of auto journalists and one of these cars will end up being in their top three of all time. The appeal of the M3 and M5 has been with us for a few years. From the days of a sedan that got a more powerful engine to the revolutionary M button, these models have seen it all. And these class defining models have been joined this year by the smaller, yet no less potent M2. The M2 follows the formula set by the brand for its stable of performance cars. It takes the 2-series platform and sets out to tweak and empower it so that it no longer feels like anything that the original designers wanted. In addition to external styling changes that add a sense of brooding menace and implied movement, to choosing performance components that add a performance envelope while losing weight and then topping it all off with a high-output engine and some really defining chassis control elements, the M2 enjoys the best of the pick. Exterior design is of course essential when you want the buyer to enjoy a sense of differentiation from the rest who buy the regular 2-series. Beginning from the dark on dark treatment of the kidney grille, signature headlight treatment, an accentuated scoop like treatment of the front lower airdam and the puffed out contours of the fenders, the M2 sits in muscle territory. And its not just visual, the extra styling is there for a purpose. Those huge scoops are to channel air in and over the wheels, while the central portion goes towards cooling the engine bay. The compact dimensions of the car are already an advantage for the M2, with a reasonably long wheelbase of 2,693mm on a full length of 4,468mm. And the proportions are all just right, with the typical low front overhang and just adequate rear. The driver’s hip point is shifted towards the rear, so that the bonnet has a feel of beig overly long, with a short rear deck. The car also manages to offer a very busy profile, with the use of the muscle like swage line from front to rear making the area between the door and rear wheel dissolve visually. The rear is also sculpted to connect visually with the front, with toned down scoops on the outer flanks with reflectors and the provision of an airflow modifier on the lip of the boot lid. Of course you shouldn’t miss the various M badges around the car. Once you step into the interiors, the car’s sporty nature communicates just that bit more with its black on black treatment. As you would expect, the seats and theme is one of black ventilated leather with alcantara trims around the roof and insets. The metal treatment is all brushed aluminium and wherever plastics come into the touch zone they are exemplary. The centre console is defined by a carbon-fibre panel that hasn’t been masked by any resin layer. The texture communicates through the finish and does a lot more than the glossy laminate treatment in other cars. This author has a particular fondness for the black on black treatment of a car’s interior. It does give you an impression of a hotter cabin in the region’s interminable summers, but the takeaway is a compactness of cabin and its ability to highlight just the controls that you really want to look at. Here the visual focal point is about the IP binnacle, the dashboard panel and the controller area. It’s all visually focussed on the driver. Even the paddle shifters are just visible enough to let your hands fall on them, once set in place it’s all tactile. And the seats are snug enough to provide support, yet don’t really crossover into the unforgiving territory of a track based car’s. We guess that you could even JUL 2016


upgrade your seat if you really wanted to, but this one also packs in the creature comforts of a luxury car. What’s in the package? At the heart of the M2 is the 3.0-litre inline six engine with a twin scroll turbocharger and both variable camshaft timing and variable valve lift control. It’s seems a bit of an overkill really, but it is really the sweetspot of engineering. You’ve got it all happening on the header. At the same time, the design of the rest of the engine has been optimised too, with the turbocharger tucked in close on the exhaust manifold. The engine offers an output of 370 horsepower with a meaty torque figure of 465Nm. Torque delivery is across the range from the just above idling to the upper reached of the midrange. What this means is the presence of almost full thrust through the most useable parts of the engine’s delivery range and that in turn is coupled with a very handy 7-speed double clutch automatic gearbox (one that BMW claims acts like two separate gearboxes). In effect the shift pattern is well designed that it outshifts the six-speed manual. The company tells us that the actual shift is handled so fast that the upcoming gear is already connected while you are working through the pattern, only waiting for the clutch to fall back in place. There is of course a whole lot of extra work done in the engine. For instance the oil sump has been redesigned so as to ensure that oil gets to engine parts even under heavy acceleration and braking, with active shifting of oil through pumps. And the exhaust pipes get active flaps that tune in the rumble on sport modes while preventing back pressure. In order to stay true to the general idea of fuel efficiency, the M2 gets an auto stop/ start function that can be switched off as well regenerative braking. 30

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The idea of an M2 engine switching off to save fuel may be a bit counter-intuitive, but here it even switches off in sport mode on the drive console. You have to manually opt out of it. The M2 offers a whole gamut of setup options, with an easily selectable drive mode knob that takes you through from Comfort to sport+, also allowing you to change the response settings on the dampers and even tuning in the sort of response you expect from the steering wheel. This is made easier by the electric assisted steering, which gives it a means of variance while still being rather miserly in its need of power. Some of the largest changes are in areas that aren’t visible. In order to lose weight, the chassis elements, especially the unsprung and rotating masses have been surgically lightened. Forged aluminium alloy members have been joined with some hollowing out, while even the brakes have lost mass. While the ventilated discs are still ferritic in nature, the brake design is now a composite one, with the bulk of the disc being made of aluminium while the friction disc stays iron. The rear subframe is made of lightweight steel and improves the dynamic characteristics of the rear axle. Even the tyres are made to demand here – front and rear are of different widths. The effect is to make the car visually beefier at the rear. The other hidden gem is BMW’s active M differential. It is proactively programmed to offer torque shifts of 100% either way and comprises a multi-plate limited slip differential that can offer a rather seamless transfer while making it almost instantaneous. This is supposed to allow you to work around a slipping wheel, but it also has the added effect of actually allowing an appreciable degree of tail sliding in case you want to use the car’s burnout ability in sport+.

The BMW M2 has the ability to switch from the mundane runabout to a vicious no-holds barred slugger, using its choice of drive modes and handling options to reflect its mood of the moment

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Driving Impressions Don’t be fooled by the less than 400bhp on the engine. The M2 will out accelerate and out handle almost every regular muscle car out there. As we’ve said before in this story, it’s the way in which the torque kicks in as you need. The car has launch control and you are really supposed to be able to beat the manual gearbox with the inherent programming. All you really need to do is rev up and then let loose. Our drive took us on some of Dubai’s busy roads and a stretch that let us open out, but we didn’t get to try out launch control. Shifting through the modes is however as entertaining and you feel the car stiffen up on demand, put its foot down and then growl into the higher speeds. Lateral control is spot on. Apparently the programming is supposed to to be able to automatically declutch if it senses too much oversteer, but that would only happen if you misjudge the curve completely. In the normal quick shift and burst modes where you put the car in Sport or Sport+, tighten

up the suspension rebound and go into a series of bends with the wheel on Sport mode, the car feels so well balanced (albeit with a very distinct rear-wheel bias). What we really missed on the drive was any slopes. That’s the territory where you would really enjoy the car’s grunt, razorfine handling and instantaneous gearshift responses, as well as your ability to read the weight shift of the body. If you really want the rear to slide, leave the car on sport+ and floor as you go, it doesn’t have to be too hard. The car offers a good degree of slip control when you turn off stability control but never really lets go altogether. Additionally the car has engineered creep built in, something that can be triggered from the accelerator and that is supposed to be useful in car parks and such. The seating position is quite suitable to the bulk of human shapes, but the M2 doesn’t really peg itself out to be a ladies car. The seat should be snug and supportive but that presupposes that you are of a certain

mass and height. Legroom in the rear is quite restricted, although it does have better than expected headroom. Verdict Frankly there is not much of an argument over whether or not the carshould be on your shopping list. If you can afford to buy a car in the mid-twenty thousand rials segment and you really like your driving, the M2 should be one of the choices. While it does not have the raw thrill factor of the RS3, it does feel more together than the A45 and brings with it a level of aspiration as well. It is bound to this feel that somehow you are going to progress up the value chain from the M2 to the M3 and thereon. As for us, the reason we love the BMW M2 is that it fits so well into our ideal of a car with a performance envelope that grows with your skills, allowing you to make mistakes and still offering that extra bit of challenge that seems like it will max out around the next corner. JUL 2016


2016 Lexus GS 450 Hybrid

The Japanese performance sedan ups the ante with a very handy inline motor assist and the ability to switch roles to a fuel saver. Lexus’ GS 450 hybrid brings a new dimension to the segment Author: Raj Warrior | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao


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he premium D-segment has had a lot of activity over the past couple of years and for a change Lexus has been rather proactive about the way it has changed its connect with the market. Product styling and modernisation is happening at a frenetic pace and we are seeing the new generation of the spindle grille transitioning to an increasingly new line-up. And where the model is still some time away from being an all-new one, the aim is to make the difference intangible. That is not the case with the GS. It has been through a complete renewal last year and along with the renewal it went through it now has a more extensive range of drivetrains. At the entry level the move has been to the new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, while the top end has now been defined by the newest generation of the Lexus hybrid drivetrain. This model is labelled the 450 hybrid and it reflects the positioning although the petrol part of the drivetrain is still the 3.5-litre unit although this engine’s been tuned for efficiency. Externally, the styling stays very Lexus with the large spindle grille sitting in the middle of the new fascia. The headlights are the two level unit with the higher spec cars having the three eyed LED projector lamps sitting atop of the LED DRL lights. A secondary effect of the spindle grille styling is the deliberate manner in which the air stream is moved towards the flanks and the wheel bays. The bonnet gets its share of positive and reverse contouring, giving the impression of a beefy engine underneath. Sadly. this elaborate styling treatment skips the side panels and doors moving straight over to the rear deck. In someways while the GS presents one of the best profile silhouettes of any Lexus the lack of panel definition lends the side some blandness even when compared with the IS, which has a nice rising swage line to cinch in the doors. The rear has an elaborate styling with the taillights using a fully LED treatment that even has a varying degree of illumination. The interiors of the car carry over a degree of familiarity while offering a sea-change in terms of what it offers the driver. The new GS is still very much based on the rear-wheel drive performance platform and the driver’s seat and cockpit essentials still reflect the old bias towards performance driving. But now you are welcomed into a cockpit that is dominated by a large 12.3-inch central display. The IP binnacle is built around a smaller 4.2”-inch display that allows the car to offer a customisable readout that includes the digital speed as well as tach and an integrated power readout that shows when you are driving in a really economical manner as well as a whole choice of other readouts. Added to that is the integrated HUD that projects speed and direction readouts on the windshield. Unlike previously, the controls for all those bits and pieces including alignment of the display and the mirrors is shifted into more traditional zones, out of the little pocket it used to be in. The cabin continues to be extremely comfortable, with seating that looks straight out of a sumptious limousine. In certain respects the driver’s seat reflects that degree of give as does the ebony insets on the dashboard and doors. However the theme of our test car was still very sporty, especially with the choice of leather colour and the brushed aluminium trims and pedals. Even the steering wheel is made to reflect the car’s sporty background, complete with tightly padded rims, brushed metal insets and paddle shifters sitting in the usual position behind the assembly. The centre console on the other hand is dominated by the by now familiar shape of the haptic controller that allows you to move the on screen mouse tracker without taking your eyes away from the dashboard. There is also a rotary drive mode JUL 2016


selector that allows the driver to switch from an economy mode, through Normal to a sport S and sport S plus mode. The Normal mode is also customisable in terms of response although it stays clear of becoming a defacto sport mode. The biggest difference that the 450 Hybrid has is of course with its drivetrain. The petrol engine is the 3.5-litre unit but this one’s tuned to deliver a default higher efficiency than normal with its Atkinson cycle and combination of direct injection and port injection that is selectively used to most effectively get a higher thermal output. The petrol engine on its own is rated at 286hp while the total system output is 338hp. The extra 52 hp is provided by the inline motor assist but on its own the motor is rated for 197hp. Of course, hybrid engines tend to average the outputs across both the systems so as to offer the best median output so don’t be surprised by the inconsistency. The car also offers an EV button on the centre console that allows the car to trundle around in only battery powered mode but you wouldn’t get more than a few kilometres until the battery pack was completely depleted. The battery pack has a 41hp output and that’s what you will operate under and a rating of only 6.5 Amp hours. It is interesting to watch the visuals of the hybrid system under operation on the central display. The initial roll off is done under battery power but even the lightest tap on the accelerator brings on the petrol engine to add to the drive. Then you get feed from the brakes (or regen braking) and the engine depending on whether you are accelerating or braking. This pushes up the bars on the battery and its only when you really push down hard on the pedal that you again see the battery begin to feed the system. You can of course go to sport or sport

plus mode and the scenario changes. The engine and motor tend to kick in faster and the pickup is definitely way better. You also tend to see the difference on the IP in terms of colour. The transmission is a new generation of CVT but then that’s truly the best way to handle the combination of two drivetrains. The complexity of a traditional gearbox would have resulted in a too jerky transfer of power and the CVT averages this out. That’s even better on the F-Sport version of the car that adds some performance trims along with the usual minor styling differences. The badging is visible both on the exterior as well as inside the cabin, alongwith the single dial IP and ancillary readouts. The selection of Sport or Sport Plus mode also effects the active variable dampers that tighten up response and provide a harder ride. The creature comfort features of the cabin include an 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with an output of 835W. The media display on the 12.3” high resolution display switches between your paired phone, the disc and any other auxiliary input and controls include voice and the haptic controller along with teh complete set of buttons for climate control and many ancillary functions on the dashboard. The GS is also fully kitted out with a host of safety features and driver assist functions including cross traffic warning for reversing, lane keep assist that actively steers the car as it follows lane markings, blind spot monitoring, intelligent cruise control that tracks and slows down with traffic ahead of you and even self dimming mirrors both outside and inside the car. The F-sport package also brings an extra in the form of the Lexus dynamic handling system.

Engine Gasoline 3.5-litre V6, Direct and Port Injection Power 286 hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque 257 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm Electric Permanent magnet motor Power 197 hp (147 Kw) Total System Power 338 hp (252 kW) 36

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The GS Hybrid shows how it is possible to balance the twin needs of more power and better efficiency by the clever integration of its motor assist and power management


Brakes & Wheels

Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) with intelligence and two-stage torque multiplication,

Front 13.1 in./1.2 in. ventilated discs (dia./thickness) Rear 12.2 in./0.7 in. ventilated discs (dia./thickness) Wheels 18x8 in. (standard) Tyres 235/45R18 (standard)


Front Double wishbones with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Rear Multi-link, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Springs and Dampers Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with driver- selectable shock absorber damping JUL 2016



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Driving Impressions We have had our share of driving a hybrid with Toyota’s Prius earlier this year although the little pioneer is nothing like the GS 450 Hybrid in performance. The principles are the same however and you do spend a lot of time initially into trying to read the system as it switches, often without being actively aware that it has switched the petrol engine on or off. The other thing that you note is that the ride quality and steering response from the electric power steering makes you switch as soon as possible to the harder responses of the sport S mode. What this does is to settle the car into a more aggressive utilisation of the grunt available from its two drivetrains and provide for a real meaning to the F-Sport package that the top of the line GS comes with. You can dial in a certain degree of customisation but the stock Sport mode is actually good enough to give you a great

drive pattern. Now all you need to do is decide to stay in performance mode. If it is economy you really want you can save a bit of fuel and be really responsible, but that isn’t the true nature of the GS. In Sport, the Atkinson cycle engine is supplemented by the extra 52-odd horsepower of the electric motor, but all its extra instantaneous torque. Pickup is better than you can expect from the regular 350 and it offers a combined output that is almost in the V8 segment. The car still remains purely rear-wheel drive and the handling stays true to the nature of the older generation of the car. You can get the car to oversteer, or even slide in Sport plus mode, and the electric power steering gives a better than expected steering feel. The harder response of the dampers in the F-sport pacakge is also complemented by additional bracing across the suspension components to provide for better tracking. In any case the larger 18” wheels

The GS does not skimp on a luxurious cabin, leather and some great technology to partner with its large display console and haptic feedback controller. It’s a simple and intuitive system that also serves to maximise your driving efficiency. And the car also features an EV only mode, very useful for operation in underground car parks and the like.

are with the aggressive spoke treatment are definitely the better choice on the profile of the car. Braking is surprisingly good although it stays on ferritic discs. Verdict The question you really need to ask yourself is whether the extra money and complexity of the hybrid is really what you want. In some ways it may be better to just opt for a 350 F-sport but where’s the adventure in that? The hybrid does bring a performance upside but you can convince your neighbours that it was because you wanted to save fuel. The Lexus GS 450 hybrid is a thinking man’s car, albeit packed with comfort, features and a degree of future-proofing that will make it as relevant at the end of product cycle as it is now. But that’s not why we would buy the GS. It has a certain irreverance to it that makes it different from any other Lexus we’ve driven and brings it on our interest level to just behind the RCF. It shares some of the intenseness and somewhere under the skin there is a feeling that a beast is lurking under all the technology and trims. It just needs the right pair of hands and feet to bring it out. JUL 2016


2016 Honda Civic

Honda’s new Civic comes at a crucial time for the brand, bringing with it the sort of appeal that first made the model famous. Automan tests the car in Oman Author: Raj Warrior | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao


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Engine Standard 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder Power 158 hp @ 6,500 rpm Torque 187 Nm @ 4,200 rpm Top of line (RS) 1.5-litre, In-Line 4-Cylinder with Single-Scroll MHI TD03 Turbo and Internal Wastegate Power 180 hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque 220 Nm @ 1,700-5,500 rpm

Transmission Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (LL-CVT) driving front wheels

Brakes & Wheels Front 11.1 ventilated discs Rear 10.2 ventilated discs Wheels 16” (standard) 17” (EXi and RS) Tyres 215/55R16 (standard) 215/50R17 (EXi and RS)

Suspension Front MacPherson Strut Suspension Rear Multi-Link Rear Suspension Frame type Unit-Body Construction 42

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ook at the C-segment and you will see a lot of hectic activity among brands – as they pull in the confluence of new consumer technologies and lifestyle choices to define their new offerings. After all the C-segment in general faces the challenge of a being in a very price and value conscious part of the market, while delivering the volumes that make mass manufacture so much a reality. Honda’s Civic has been a definer of the segment and is now in its tenth generation. But what is really important is that the new generation is an attempt to address the issues that the brand had with the ninth gen car (over 2011-2015) . even in that short period the car actually underwent a rejig within the first 18 months due to complaints. There is no such fear with this model. It launched at the end of 2015 in the US market and has already won the North American car of the year. At the launch event in Dubai, we were introduced to the car and its feature pack and our initial feedback was that the car had the potential to be a winner and from the results in the showroom over the past month, our assessment seems to have been endorsed by customers. And to our surprise the bulk of customers have seen

the inherent advantage of going for the fully equipped versions. The Civic launches into the market with two engine variants . The base engine across the LXi and EXi is the 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine with an output of 158hp @ 6500rpm (with a cut-off at around 6,800rpm) and 187Nm of torque at 4,200rpm. The higher specced engine that comes on the RS is actually the smaller volume 1.5-litre turbocharged engine that offers 180hp at 6,000rpm and a higher torque of 220Nm along the band of 1700 to 5500rpm. The difference in torque is very evident and meshes well with the 7-notch CVT to the level that it really lives up to the RS tag in its appeal to a younger owner. The next bit of kit that has changed is the entire IP and centre console that is dominated by Honda’s new Android based tablet display that pairs quite effectively with either IPhone or Android phone for a pretty good smart phone interface. The main advantages of the new design are a connect with the past models while they integrate new LED DRLs, projector lamps and a raciness that makes even the base LXi a great looking car. The proportions are broadly carried over though this car looks longer and slightly

squatter than before, but the wheels are placed so as to give it a bit of dynamism. And the single biggest move is towards the new Honda fascia using the large horizontal member over the grille. The interiors have also changed, with a roomier rear cabin and even more hideaways and cubbyholes. What we really liked was the centre console that now offers a two-tiered zone with the USB and interfaces stashed below and out of sight while providing a slot to run wires to the surface. So you can keep your phone in full view. Of course the interface is good, so you can really keep it out of sight and even use your phone’s voice control if required. Additional features include a paddleshifter (in the RS) and a tap to shift feature that really overcomes the CVT’s inherent sluggishness. This CVT is far better than the generation we encountered in the early City and settles in with just a little tug at the pedal. Features from larger cars have also debuted on the Civic including remote engine starter and Lanewatch. The former is really useful when you want to cool down your car before you get into it. We have yet to figure out how much of an advantage the Lanewatch on the JUL 2016



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The Civic’s 2.0-litre engine is now the new entry level, matched with a peppy 1.5-litre turbocharged unit for the RS. The interiors are also now best of class, with the newest interpretation of the centre console with intelligent layout. The cabin is also more roomy than before, almost a D-segment volume.

far side is over having a traditional BLIS arrangement. Yes, you now see cars that would typically be in the far blindspot but it takes a while before you realise you still have a near blind spot that requires attention. Driving Impressions The 2.0-litre LXi unit that we were testing in Oman is as interesting as any of the higher versions. All that you lack are some of the feature pack like the larger displays and rearview camera and of course the Lanewatch that goes with the extra camera on the outside far mirror and the larger display. The engine is peppy and spools in instantaneously, with a decent level of midrange torque although the maximum power is only 158bhp. With a curb weight of below 1250kgs, the Civic doesn’t have too much weight to haul. So you get the mass moving at a decent pace with the

CVT that also carries programming to hold a higher ratio in order to do the sprint. The car has a very European feel for an American made vehicle. The NVH levels are low and the chassis gives the feel of having undergone a major level of weight loss. You can actually sense the reduced unsprung mass and stiffened tarcking components. It translates into a faster turn in speed on curves and better steering feel all through the turn. The steering loads up pretty well and you can get more g-force on the lateral axis. The RS is a different ball game, with its 1.5-litre turbo unit. The torque delivery is much more intense and occurs over a wider rev range so you get a far better sprint start and a better top end. And the provision of the paddle shifters is really handy as you can extract the most out of the little turbocharged unit. The Civic RS is the delectable little cherry that you really want in this lineup. It isn’t as aggressive as the Type R and certainly offers better comfort and the handiness of an automatic shift. We particularly like the dark on dark styling of the exterior and the intensity of the interiors. You can’t really stray too far from the Civic norm but the small touches count as does the available larger screen

and the possibility of putting on a google map for navigation. Verdict The principle question we need to answer is whether the car really has moved ahead of the past generation, especially where it competes with other models in its segment. Most competitors have made the transition to cars that marry trendy technology, lifestyle choices and better production process to deliver in demand models. And the universe of competition has grown as well. Now the Elantra and Cerato join the Corolla and various European C-segment sedans. And we even have the Sentra from Nissan nipping on the heels. So the Civic has a tough job catching the customer’s minds and wallets. Our recommendation is that the Civic has now grown enough to be a really effective option. The engine and geartrain are better than average, the cabin is now definitely at the top of class and the drive feel is almost European in its suppleness. But the real takeaway is that this American made car brings a solidness and reliability that may make it another signature model generation for the brand. The Civic is again an engineer’s delight. JUL 2016


2016 Lincoln Navigator

With next year’s all-new Navigator having been announced, Lincoln is throwing in a whole slew of extras into the current Navigator Photography: Elvis John Ferrao


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We got an opportunity to test the lincoln Navigator and almost turned it down because we had done our test of the 2015 model in March last year, with its new 3.5-litre Ecoboost engine and new exterior treatment. This year the car is being sold with the reserve package which adds in leather wrapped IP, armrests and gearshift lever, adds premium Zircote wood trim and premium leather on all three rows of seats and gives the car 22inch polished aluminium alloy wheels. So what were the key points we noted last year? So, what exactly is the refreshed 2015 Lincoln Navigator? Did Ford go the whole nine yards with its top-of-the-line model? Not exactly. The 2015 Navigator is based on the seven-year-old body-on-frame platform with mostly unchanged exterior dimensions. Depending on markets, it is offered with standard and long wheel base variants. The car’s sheetmetal is mostly carried over. However, there are exceptions as there is evidence of the new styling DNA up front and at the rear. Prominent among them instantly noted are the bonnet, front face and the tailgate. Up front, the family-look splitwing grille has been skillfully applied to accommodate a truck that now stylistically falls in line with most of the

refreshed or new Lincoln models. There’s a new interpretation of the Lincoln split wing grille with horizontal matt chrome effect bars, modern HID headlamps with LED accents. The rear end design treatment isn’t as modern as the front due to structural restrictions, but designers have managed to include a LED taillamp assembly. Overall, considering the profile, proportions and stance, there’s a nice feel about this morphing is that it has blended very nicely and doesn’t appear as a hastily done cut-and-paste job. Inside, the cabin layout remains as before but detailing and functional elements like the dashboard and instruments have been redesigned. There’s a bit of the Taurus influence out here with its swanky instrumentation and complex information displays. Driver gets a new steering wheel and leather upholstery extends to all three rows. The car also benefits from Ford-Microsoft’s second generation SYNC infotainment and My Lincoln Touch systems. The latter set-up uses traditional rotary knobs for radio tuning, rather than the previous touch switches and this brings in a nice touch of subtle modernity to the cabin. However, the airconditioning controls are touch-sensitive. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s current electronic architecture is unable to support modern

day features like active cruise control or lane-keeping assist which are beginning to show up in this category of vehicles more often than before. In terms of space for occupants, the Navigator has always been popular with its users. Although the external dimensions of the car haven’t changed, Licoln is confident that its big utility will continue to be best in class in terms of interior volume and practical amenities like folding flat seats [second/third row]. Although the climb to that third row is a little awkward, optional motorised running boards (that retract when the vehicle is in motion) and the abundance of headroom once inside certainly help with this technical challenge. As with any refresh, the key differences in corporate philosophy comes clear in the engineering of any car. For this Lincoln model more than cosmetic upgrades, the focus has been in the departments of performance, handling and as befits a luxury classed vehicle, its ride quality. According to Lincoln, the outgoing V8 offered 310hp and 365lb-ft of torque, whereas the twin-turbo V6 offers at least 370hp and 430 lb-ft [gains of 5hp and 10 lb-ft over what the engine currently makes in the Ford F-150]. Power is transferred

The current platform is at the end of its line but brings the Navigator the advantages of load hauling and luxurious seating positions as well as the ability to cruise highways with no effort

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Wood and leather and one of the most capacious cabins of any SUV make for a luxury package that is old school but almost unbeatable for its comfort. New world features include LED pipe lighting, a large colour display, LCD screens and a very economical 3.5-litre Ecoboost engine.

via a carryover six-speed automatic in the all-wheel drive test car which came with driver selectable high/low range features [4x4, 4x2, autoselect etc]. The biggest news for this car comes in the ride department. The refreshed Navigator now arrives with a new suspension system which uses continuously controlled damping (CCD). The fast reacting system monitors road conditions and various parameters using an array of sensors to update shock absorber damping every two milliseconds. CCD offers three driver- select presets: normal, sport, and comforts. Complementing the new suspension, driver also gets a new electric power steering system. Newly designed larger 20in aluminum alloy wheels now replace the 18in wheels of the outgoing Navigator, with 22-inch on the Reserve package. Driving impressions Given the hardware that underpins this luxo-barge which is a derivative of

current Ford F-150the body-on-frame architecture along with an active suspension and torquey new engine which is controlled by an electronically module that includes electrically assisted steering and optional adaptive dampers [which can be set to Normal, Comfort, or, um, Sport modes], this large car does well in the acceleration department and the torque delivery and gear holding ability was at its best noted both during the uphill/downhill Qantab roads. The car maintains the previous Navigator’s personality, offering a quiet cabin and a smooth ride quality, which has vastly improved and so has the car’s swaying tendencies. Since it is a large and heavy vehicle, it is expected to wallow, but body roll is checked efficiently, especially during roundabout manoeuvring. The luxury SUV knows it is not a sports SUV and hence sticks to its original role play sincerely. The steering weight is pretty good and the weight of the vehicle is not felt. Turn-in is good despite the bigger wheel set-up and few found it quite handy in tight car parks. The reverse camera is useful, but it doesn’t show the trajectories. The Sat Nav operation was Ford standard. Offroad, we had the choice of engaging the 4x4 systems and there’s plenty of torque

available in low range to tackle most trail drives. Also the car’s ground clearance and modest arrival and departure angles ensure that it can go on the beach without damage to undercarriage or valance. Verdict Going by the market sentiments, it’s no secret that the Cadillac dominates the large luxury SUV segment with other brands/models trying to catch up. In fact, it owes Lincoln a big thank-you for reviving the category back in 1997 with the Navigator. With Lincoln’s market share compared with GM in this category being much smaller, it was hard for Ford to justify unlimited investments in making bigger and bolder changes for the updated 2015 Navigator. And given the circumstances and what Lincoln has set out to achieve, we think it has a better chance to score. With seating for up to eight, a towing capacity and a starting price of just under OMR 34,000, there are few vehicles like the Navigator in the market. And then you have the latest Ecoboost [direct injection with turbocharging] V6 engine technology under the bonnet which guarantees the best of both worlds – contemporary luxury and performance in one family package. JUL 2016


FirStDRIVE 2017 KIA Cadenza

Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Author and supplied

Enriched extensively inside out and more luxurious and competent than the outgoing model, Kia Motor’s all-new 2016 Gen II Cadenza is now a highly desirable large sedan says Automan after the first drive experience in its home country last month 50

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t’s no secret that among volume car makers worldwide, Kia Motors has consistently maintained its world #9 ranking since 2013. While many automakers have been plagued with quality and frequent recall issues, Kia has improved its performance in this respect considerably and in the past few years has been focusing in smarter designs for its upcoming model line-up. Between 2015 and 2016, most of the key Kia models sold in Oman have will be [Sportage SUV, Optima sedan and Carnival MPV already launched] all new or refreshed. That’s not all, between 2016-2020, Kia Motors will launch whopping 98 vehicles [37 all-new and 61 derivatives/enhanced models] globally. Obviously, Kia will be pretty busy pampering automotive aficionados across the world besides promoting itself to the technology forefront with its ‘Drivewise’ sub brand offerings. In that spirit, the next new model arriving in the Sultanate will be the Gen II 2016 Cadenza sedan. The outgoing Cadenza was conceived as an all-new product in 2011. At the time Kia created two sedan slots – mid and large represented by the new Cadenza and Optima respectively. As a result of this approach, the then family Opirus sedan was replaced. The Cadenza exported was larger than the midsized Optima and also received a V6 engine, loads of standard equipment and a comfort-tuned suspension. The car was designed by the then former Audi chief designer Peter Schreyer, the opened a new chapter for the Korean automaker as a huge step forward in the luxury large sedan market. This specific segment also sees a lot of activity from players like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Chrysler, Dodge and premium brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. All these mentioned brands are represented in Oman actively. While, it is an accepted fact that a typical life cycle of a car is seven years in the global market and in view of intensive competition, Kia think-tanks decided to fast track the development of the Gen II Cadenza and launch the new offering at the 2015 New York Auto Show. That this strategy is paying off can be evaluated from the fact the new production Cadenza K7 [as known in domestic market] is selling over 5,000 units per month since its launch in January 2016, which represents a threefold increase in sales over the outgoing model. Kia has set a modest global target of 70,000 units in first year of introduction for the new

Cadenza. So what’s on offer? The new design was first shown as the Novo concept car and the production version carries on with many of the new design elements. At first glance, the new arrival sports a familiar profile of the outgoing model. However, the designed has evolved further and Schreyer’s global team [Europe, US and Korea] have provided significant inputs to give it a mature standalone stance with impressive detailing in the car which also sports marginal difference in dimensions. The new car’s overall length remains unchanged as the outgoing model at 4,970mm, but it’s slightly wider [+20 mm] to 1,870mm and lowered by 5mm [1,470mm]. The wheelbase has been stretched by 10mm to 2,855mm and sportier profile was achieved by extending the roofline rearward more than 50mm. As Kia is keen to move the Gen II Cadenza into premium category, it has not just rebodied or repackaged the car on a carry forward platform. Both engineering and design have worked together to optimise the new product. On the design side, Schreyer’s presentation for the car focused on ‘the simplicity of the straight line’ and hence there’s a single gestural contour which helps create a sleek profile which draws the eye along the length of the car. This line visually links matching Z-shaped light signatures in the headlights and LED tail light clusters. In terms of detailing, chrome accents have been added to the side windows and both Band C-pillars have been blacked-out for a pillar-less appearance. What immediately catches the eye is the new interpretation of the trademark “tiger nose” grille, which now features sharper edges and sports a concave profile. Over all, from which ever angle viewed, the car appears thoroughly contemporary with its coupe-like profile. The spec sheet suggests that is has been packaged to deliver expectations of the traditional luxury car buyers. On the engineering front, there’s more that what the eye can see. In fact, the platform used has been modified extensively and the percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) content has been increased from 24per cent to 51per cent to enhance its torsional rigidity and also help in improving crash resistance. Kia engineering is confident the car will get top safety scores on IIHS or NCAP testing. JUL 2016


The benefits of the dimensional changes are more evident when you land inside the cabin. The cabin is designed with openness and space in mind. Even with the dimensional changes and low rear roof profile, there’s still 962mm of rear headroom. However, the biggest surprise in the increased limo-like legroom for rear passengers which is around 945mm. Passenger room for five occupants is really generous for this category of car and we think it outclasses that of the generally regarded space leader Toyota’s Avalon. In terms of key elements, some of the features have carried over from the outgoing car. For instance, while the instrument cluster and centre console are no longer housed together, the dashboard features the same wraparound design, while the air-conditioning vents, infotainment screen, and radio buttons are arranged in a similar fashion. The dashboard has a more cohesive design and the centre console looks cleaner and new control knobs have been added to the base. The car gets an updated Harman Kardon infotainment system with 12-speaker surround system. The instrument cluster is all new with two traditional gauges instead of the large, centre-mounted speedometer seen on the previous model. Our test car came with piano black gloss finish contrasted with new black wood-grain-style trim with a pearlescent sheen. Kia also upped the ante in the luxury department and added authentic stitching to the dashboard, soft-touch materials on the door panels, and quilted bolsters and diamond-shaped stitching on the seats depending on trim level. Panaromic glass roof is also offered in higher trim variants. Drivers familiar with the outgoing model will find that that the driver’s seat has been lowered for better feel behind the steering wheel. The seat cushion has been extended and fitted with a mechanism that slides and rotates, enabling drivers to find a more comfortable position. Kia says buyers of the new Cadenza will be offered greater customization options for the interior of the car with a choice of four interior colour combinations. As well as a black interior, buyers can also choose from a black and beige two-tone interior, as well as black and white. A new dark brown interior colour is also available and depending on markets a White Package remains an option. As far as packaging, the good news is 52

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this sedan comes loaded with premium features like head-up display, surround view with improved software and resolution, and UVO infotainment with Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. A new feature added is the boot lid opening is sensor activated. From the ‘Drivewise’ package, the car benefits from the Advanced Smart Cruise Control set-up with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. Another Kia first is the Smart Blind Spot Detection System. The outgoing Cadenza’s Around View Monitor has been updated to offer greater clarity during low-speed parking manoeuvres. The system’s improved software and resolution has been designed to give a clearer birds-eye view too. Overall, interior appointments are pleasant, tasteful and touch points come with softer materials. Fit, finish and ergonomics are premium class. On the powertrain front, there’s pretty good news out here. While many rival brands have opted for CVT [continuous variable transmissions] which are primarily designed for fuel economy than performance, Kia has opted to stay faithful to geared options for the normally-aspirated 3.3-litre V6 engines. The top end high output direct injection V6 is paired with Kia’s first application of 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic function. Although paddle shifters have not been provided, the latter operation is done through the shifter lever. A bit old fashioned, but we don’t mind it! In this set-up, the engine is tuned to offer 284hp and 337Nm torque. The MPI V6 is mated to a carry forward 6-speed automatic and produces 270hp and 318Nm torque. The on-road 0-100km/ h performance difference is just 0.3 secs [7.5/7.2secs] between the variants. Interestingly, despite having two extra cogs, the in-house designed eight-speed transmission adds no extra weight. While engineering revision to the structure of the car was expected to increase its weight, the overall chassis is actually lighter due to the use of aluminium instead of steel in areas such as the front steering knuckles. Both front and rear subframes have been revisited and now come with larger bushings to improve lateral stiffness and the suppression of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics. Further improving the ride are Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers

Engine Transverse 3.3L V6 DOHC Gasoline Direct Injection Power 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm Torque 253 lb. ft. @ 5,200 rpm

Transmission Electronically controlled 8-speed automatic overdrive with Sportmatic

Brakes & Wheels Front 12.6” Vented Disc Rear 11.8” Vented Disc Wheels 7.5Jx18 / 8.0Jx19 (OPT) Tyres 245/45R18 Hankook and Michelin / 245/40R19 Michelin (OPT)

Suspension Front Independent MacPherson struts with front stabilizer bar Rear Multi-link type Frame type Steel unibody JUL 2016



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and rounding off the ride are newly designed wheels that are offered with P245/45R18 or P245/40R19 Michelin rubber. Braking power has also been improved with larger ventilated front brake discs [increased from 300mm to 320mm] and solid rear discs from 284mm to 300mm. Driving impressions The two-day convoy drive in South Korea saw us driving both variants of the car on city roads, motorways, countryside and also explore vast expanse of mountain roads. The route prepared allowed us to generously explore South Korea’s finest landscapes and a nice sprint on the East Coast roads which run parallel to the coral blue Pacific Ocean. The weather conditions varied with rain and dry patches. On Day One, the variant offered was the higher output GDI V6 with 8-speed transmission. This package is actually quite impressive in the way it delivers the goods. Acceleration is brisk, gear shifts are silky smooth and choosing between the driver select modes gives the car its distinctive driving character. The Active Eco driving mode offered helps reduces fuel consumption by 7per cent, albeit at some loss of performance. Engine

hovers stress free above idle on Korean motorway speeds of 100-120km/h. We preferred to drive the car in Sport or Comfort modes where the key difference is in engine mapping, power delivery and gear holding without affecting the suspension’s character. On road, the car’s cabin is serene and quiet as the Cadenza’s coefficient of drag has been improved from 0.29 to 0.28 Cd. The only noise that filtered in the cabin was mostly tyre noise from the rough and old road surfaces. On newly laid asphalt the car was perfect and does qualify as a luxury car with its soft, yet firm ride. This level of rolling smoothness is what clearly separates the Cadenza from mainstream sedans found in the market, the Nissan Maxima included! The suspension appears well sorted to accept hard manoeuvring and light electric steering has no problems with fast cornering. Since the chassis appears well sorted and matured, active suspension setting would be a highly desired aspect, if Kia engineers could factor that in. This would then give it a true sport character for a luxury sedan on the likes of what the German premium models are offering. Day Two saw us spending time with the MPI V6 with 6-speed automatic

transmission. In this package, where there’s an output difference of a few horses, one would have expected a lethargic performance. However, in real time, this was not the case. This combo also offers smooth and confident performance. Acceleration is brisk and there’s more than enough power for overtaking and merging at highway speeds. While, the transmission is not as silky smooth as the new 8-speed one, it features a manual mode and we noted shifts are quick enough without it. The key difference is in the drive select mode where only two options offered. In terms of handling, both variants seem to complement each other. Stopping power from brakes appeared sharp with no fading noted. Verdict The Gen II 2016 Kia Cadenza should be considered by punters as geniune premium class large sedan. Why? It’s got the looks, smart features and performance of a sporty luxury sedan. And considering its generous standard equipment and options, we are sure that the new arrival will be able to carve its standalone status in a segment which is now getting crowded with mediocre ‘me too’ models. JUL 2016


SPEciAlSTORY 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Despite inclement weather and rains, thousands of motoring aficionados thronged to get a glimpse of the past, present and future of motoring at the 24th edition of Goodwood Festival of Speed. Visitors attending were rewarded too with spectacular displays and aural delights Author: Chandan B Mallik


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he setting this year was no different. You had the themed sculpture in front of Goodwood House, the Hill climb event, paddocks for historic cars and motorcycles, lush green lawns with carnival atmosphere and automaker pavilions, hospitality tents et al. Here visitors mingled with celebrities and all

joined and recreated nostalgic moments. At this year’s settings, the main theme was ‘Full Throttle - The Endless Pursuit of Power.’ This was more than fitting in the 50th anniversary year of Can-Am. A special class celebrated this anniversary, while BMW’s centenary also took centre stage with a separate class and on the

Gerry Judah sculpture in front of. In addition to the historic cars, the event also featured numerous new road cars that often celebrated their dynamic debut at Goodwood. Here’s a round-up of the key events, by brand. Read on...

Abarth Making its dynamic debut at Goodwood was the Abarth 124 Spider, a tuned up 170bhp edition of Fiat’s roadster. Also seen in action was the top of the range ‘Competizione’ variant of the Abarth 595.

Alpina The tuning company showed off the luxury Alpina B7 sedan featuring a 600bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine giving the two-wheel drive version of the 0-100km/h sub 4.0 sec performance. Also on display was the new B4 Bi-Turbo Convertible which is based on the latest-generation BMW 4 Series.

Aston Martin Aston Martin’s answer to various GT3-type rivals can in the form of a one-off commission of a roadster version of the GT12. The 600hp first entire bespoke Vantage-based model from the Q by Aston Martin personalisation service car was unveiled on Friday (June 24th).

Did you know? Moving Motor Show At Goodwood, the Moving Motor Show actually allows prospects to try a wide variety of cars. This event has become so popular that the Festival of Speed is now the de facto British Motor Show. The all-new Bugatti Chiron was put to the paces by Lord March, making him the first non professional driver to feel the car’s whopping 1,478bhp. Other cars making their dynamic debut this year included the Aston Martin DB11, Porsche’s new 718 Boxster and Cayman range and the new Mercedes-AMG GT-R. JUL 2016



Audi’s stand featured nine brand new models for UK markets and included the smallest ‘Q’ model, the Q2, the all-new Audi S5 and TT RS Coupes, and the offroad-ready ‘Allroad’ version of the new A4 Avant. The new 113kg lighter than its predecesso R8 V10 Spyder also made its first UK appearance.

Bentley Making their UK debuts at Goodwood this year were three Bentley models including the Bentayga the luxury SUV, new Continental GT Speed and the Flying Spur V8 S. The new Continental GT3 race car also had its world debut.

BMW Among the featured celebrations was BMW with the central feature display marking the company’s 100th anniversary. The traditional Gerry Judah sculpture on the lawn of Goodwood House this year featured three BMW cars that celebrated the brand’s greatest racing successes. These included the 1940 Mille Miglia victory, the 1982 Formula 1 World Championship and 1999 Le Mans Besides the static display, the actual winning cars of each of these achievements were seen in action on the hill-climb too. Also on display were an array of cars sourced from the BMW Museum and some brought in by collectors. It was impressive to witness BMW-engined Brabhams of the 1980s owned by Bernie Ecclestone with the exception of the BT52. Noteworthy, all of the Brabhams were built during his tenure as team principal. Perhaps never before seen in Europe was the March-built GTP car that was briefly raced in the US and privateer owned Kevin Cooper’s very rare 320i Group 5.

Bugatti The Bugatti Veyron has long been a familiar sight at Goodwood and continuing the tradition this year was the appearance of the Veyron successor -- the £2m Chiron. The 1,458bhp Chiron was seen in action several times when it was unleashed on the Goodwood hill every day.

Caterham Caterham’s Seven 620R conquered the Road category with its supreme performance. The car piloted by development driver Jon Barnes blasted up the famous 1.16-mile Goodwood hillclimb in a best time of 61.76s, beating six other lightweight, trackinspired sportscars that included the Zenos E10R, BAC Mono and Lotus 3-11. Overall, the car finished third and was the fastest non-4WD car to take to the hill. 58

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Ferrari Ferrari had an impressive and extensive line-up of GT and Corse Clienti cars in the Michelin Supercar Paddock ably supported by a star-studded driver line-up with Scuderia Ferrari Driver Marc Gene, ex F1-driver Rene Arnoux and LeMans drivers, Sam Bird, James Colado and Davide Rigon. In turns, the drivers put on a show for the crowds who lined the hay bales and grandstands on the famed 1.16 mile hillclimb. Several Ferrari made their UK dynamic debut included the Ferrari California T Handing Speciale, the 488 Spider and the F12tdf, besides the one-off special 458 MM Speciale that was commissioned by a UK collector.


Ford In Europe, Ford is promoting performance and its display had performance-orientated merchandise like the Focus ST and RS cars, along with the new Ford GT. The brand’s new ST-Line range of cars also made up the numbers on the stand.

The star of the stand was the production version of the NSX. Honda’s stand also featured the Jazz, HR-V, CR-V, Civic and Civic Type R. Cars from the brand’s motorsport history came in the form of the McLaren Formula One car and BTCC Civic Type R racer.

Jaguar Jaguar came fully prepared with its newest F-Pace SUV. After setting the Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest loopthe-loop at its launch last year, the very same record-breaking F-PACE and stunt driver Terry Grant teamed up again for an unusual demonstration. This time Grant piloted the F-Pace on two wheels. As if that was not enough, professional freestyle motorbike stunt rider Lee Bowers was on board to add even more jeopardy to proceedings.

Lexus Toyota’s luxury arm featured the new LC coupe which also has a dynamic demonstration as it was driven up the hill by a trio of racing drivers. The V8-powered LC 500 example was accompanied by Lexus’ LFA supercar, RC F, GS F, and F Sport versions of the RC, NX and RX.

Lotus One year on from its global unveiling, the matt and gloss Black 3-Eleven was on display at this years’ Goodwood Festival of Speed with Bell & Colvill, the most successful and longest serving Lotus dealer in the world. A second giant killing Lotus 3-Eleven took part in the Michelin Supercar run on all three days of the Festival. JUL 2016


Maserati As expected, Maserati’s first ever SUV, the Levante made its motorsport debut racing up the hillclimb after an appearance in the ‘Moving Motor Show’. The Levante joined Maserati’s Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans on the manufacturer’s stand.

Mazda Mazda introduced its new hard-top MX-5 RF version at the Moving Motor Show. A selection of MX-5 variants were also on display and included a standard roadster, Spyder concept from last year’s SEMA show and a historic the Mk1 MX-5.

The global launch of the AMG GT R at the Brooklands course


The new Mercedes-AMG GT R made its public debut today with the chairman of AMG, Tobias Moers, behind the wheel. The German brand sent some of its iconic cars from its 130-year history up the famous hillclimb. Starting proceedings was the 280 E (W123) rally car from 1977, alongside the iconic MercedesBenz 540 K Streamliner of 1938 and Paul O’Shea’s 300 SLS of 1957 – the car in which he won the American Sports Car Championship. On the final day of the event, Mercedes AMG Petronas driver, Nico Rosberg, arrived to drive the 2014 F1 W05 Hybrid up the famous hill for the final time at this year’s Festival. Following its debut on Saturday, the Mercedes-AMG GT R took to the hill once again, alongside the Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet and C 63 S Edition 1 Coupé. Especially for Sunday, viewers of the supercar run also got to see an additional Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé make its way up the hill.

McLaren McLaren was present with an impressive array of cars and by far had the most extensive display of McLaren models ever showcased. On display were the recently-announced track-only 570S Sprint which made its dynamic debut on the hillclimb alongside its road-going 570S coupe sibling. The 50th anniversary of the Can Am championship was celebrated with the 650S Can Am by MSO, joined by the 675LT Spider. Two examples of the P1 GTR complemented a selection of historical McLaren race models.


Celebrating its Le Mans motorsport heritage, Porsche unveiled the 911 Endurance Racing Edition which is a variant based on the Carrera S. It adds sports-focused kit including the Sport Chrono package, twin sports exhaust and dynamic chassis control. 60

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Renault The new 110bhp hot Twingo GT had its global debut Goodwood this year. The French brand also gave the new Megane Sports Tourer GT205 its first UK run at the Moving Motor Show. The 275bhp Clio R.S. 16 Concept first seen at the Monaco Grand Prix was on display in the ‘First Glance’ area before a run up the hill.


Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce participated in the Hillclimb with the Wraith Black Badge edition which is the most powerful and dynamic RollsRoyce. In the Supercar Shootout, it was placed ahead of entrants from McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari, amongst others. Driven by Festival of Speed favourite, Justin Law, the car completed the 1.16-mile course in 65.05sec. Meanwhile, the he Course Car this year was a Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge, resplendent with LED race lights and Goodwood decals.

Subaru stunned audiences with horsepower and speed in a dimunitive package called the Impreza “Gobstobber II” which was powered by a 860bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged, fourcylinder engine. The said car was built specifically to dominate “time attack” events, where drivers compete on circuits for the fastest lap time at Goodwood. Olly Clark powered the car to clock an unbelievable 46.29sec run and this figure beat the Porsche 911 racers and a McLaren P1 LM driven by Indy 500 winner Kenny Bräck who clocked 47.07sec! However, the all-time course record belongs to Nick Heidfeld, who in 1999 crossed the line in an amazing 41.6 seconds driving a McLaren Formula One car.

Volkswagen Volkswagen celebrated 40 years of the Golf GTI and the brand showed, and ran, original and modern iterations of the hatch. The limited to 400 unit production 310PS Golf GTI Clubsport S participated in the Hillclimb piloted by Volkswagen Board of Management member for Sales and Marketing Jürgen Stackmann.

Cartier Style & Luxe Concours d’Elegance Usually, the quieter side of Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Cartier Style & Luxe Concours d’Elegance this year celebrated its 21st appearance at the venue and as always highlighted the achievements of cherished several brands. Italy’s near defunct Lancia brand was accorded a special class entry due to its past Goodwood connection. Freddie March used to be the official importer for the British Empire, excluding Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. Among the great Lancias on display were great examples of the Aurelia, Flaminia and Lambda. One of the other special classes was dedicated to the RollsRoyce Phantom III, which featured the brand’s first V12 engine. Alpine’s resurrection was marked with an array of cars from the Renault Classic collection that included the rarely seen, one-off Merignac show car. The Cartier Style & Luxe also highlighted Marcello Gandini’s designs for Lamborghini with a fine selection of ‘Raging Bulls.’ Included in the display was the Miura SV that has recently been restored by Lamborghini’s new Polo Storico and was awarded ‘Best of Show’ by the panel of judges. The nine-strong judging panel included Lapo Elkann; Flavio Manzoni, Ferrari’s vice president of design; Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. It may be recalled that the original Miura SV was shown at the 1971 Geneva motor show and was placed at Goodwood in the Lamborghini stand together, among others, the Aventador Miura Homage, special series for the 50th birthday.

1933 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet Bocca

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Park Ward Sedanca de Ville

Honourable mentions

The Festival of Speed also provides a platform for specialists to showcase their latest creations. Notable this year were creations like the Vuhl 05RR, the Arrinera Hussarya GT and a camouflaged Bristol V8. Another project that broke cover at the 2016 Festival of Speed was Lanzante’s McLaren P1 LM which is based on the GTR circuit racer. This road legal machine has been approved by McLaren and production will be limited to five units. The prototype was driven by former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack.

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Mercedes-AMG has packed quite a bit of motorsport technology into the new 2017 AMG GT R. Author: Chandan B Mallik


JUL 2016

At last month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in UK, Mercedes-AMG took the opportunity to give the crowd a taste of its hottest member of its AMG GT family -- the 2017 AMG GT-R. The latest model in Mercedes’ line-up is touted as a fine example of packaging and represents what the brand has learned from the road-going GT and GT-S coupes and raceready GT3. The car celebrated its world première on 24 June 2016 at the site of the Mercedes-Benz World located at one of England’s most tradition-steeped racing circuits: Brooklands and its unveil was equally dramatic where it was dropped by a helicopter and a live demonstration performed by none other than British F1 and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. The GT R is distinguishable despite closely resembling the Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer. First, it wears a grille design inspired from the 300SL that won the 1952 Carrera Panamericana Mexican road race and secondly it gets an all-new satin finish exterior paintwork officially dubbed AMG Green Hell Magno. This comes as a tribute to the nickname given to the Nürburgring’s north loop by Sir Jackie Stewart back in the day. Inside the car, AMG Performance Nappa leather bound seats come from the AMG GT S while brilliant yellow seatbelts are optional, as are instrument dials with yellow highlights. As AMG is involved in the development, this means the car is entirely

handmade including its bumped up engine. Affalterbach’s engineers have reprogrammed the engine to increase its output by 74hp and 37 lb-ft. As a result, the revised version of the 4.0-litre twinturbo V8 now offers 585hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. In the case of hardware, AMG has employed new turbochargers, a revised intake and new forged-aluminium pistons with a higher compression ratio. Maximum boost from the turbos is 19.6 psi [up from 17.6 psi in the GT S], and the units can spin up to 186,000rpm when needed. So what comes from the track? The car’s mechanical layout is a tried-and-tested feature of the AMG GT and AMG GT S which means it uses front mid-engine and transmission in transaxle configuration on the rear axle. Weight distribution of car is 47.3 [front] to 52.7 [rear] and in conjunction with the vehicle’s low centre of gravity the car is offers a power-toweight ratio of 2.66kg/hp. Actual components in this car derived from the race programme for the GT3 racing version cars include lightened flywheel for quicker engine response, upgraded cooling system that ensures full engine output even in high-heat and racing conditions. As expected, the GT R uses dry-sump oiling system. Weight saving measure includes construction of thin-walled stainless steel exhaust headers fitted with titanium mufflers. The GT R–specific exhaust saves around JUL 2016


6kgs. The car’s centrally mounted exhaust tip is accompanied by a pair of additional exhaust outlets located off-centre in the rear diffuser. Other stylistic related features include LED brows on the headlamps, extra large. The lower middle intake gets electrically operated louvers to direct airflow for optimum efficiency. Closed at speed, they reduce drag; if required, they can open to send fresh air to the intercooler heat exchangers. A small carbon-fibre splitter that is placed below the chin helps increase downforce. The design of the carbon fibre front mudguards has been modified, resulting in a width increase of about 1.8in. The rear mudguards are fabricated out of aluminium and increase the car’s width by 2.2in versus the standard model. In its construction, the GT R also gets unpainted carbon fibre roof. The car chassis is 90per cent aluminium and a carbon-fibre propeller shaft connects the engine to the beefed-up 64

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version of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic from the GT S with nine traction-control settings. As the new unique feature for the brand, the GT R also will employ entirely electronic rear-wheel steering. Two electromechanical actuators alter rear-wheel toe angle by 1.5 degrees to improve handling, this system has no mechanical connection to the steering wheel. In addition to continuously variable adaptive damping with three settings— Comfort, Sport, and Sport+—the GT R–specific suspension has springs with manually adjustable preload to optimize handling both on and off the racetrack. Clearly hidden from view in the underbody is a new movable carbon-fibre aerodynamic element fitted in front of the engine which moves automatically downward 1.6in at 80km/h when the car is in Race mode, creating a venturi effect by reducing front-axle lift by about 40kg at 148km/h while leaving the downforce on the rear axle unchanged. When activated,

a radiator air outlet opens to guide air toward the double rear diffuser, which is said to improve the handling stability of the rear axle while also routing more cooling air to the brake rotors. At the GT R’s top speed of 317km/h, the combined influence of all of these aerodynamic features increases downforce by 156kg over the standard AMG GT. On the performance level, Mercedes-AMG claims zero-to-96km/h time of 3.5secs and a top speed of 317km/h. Those are 0.2 sec quicker and 8km/h faster than the figures claimed for the 2017 GT S. The car can be ordered with optional AMG Performance asymmetric [10.0 J x 19 ET56 wheels at the front and 12.0 J x 20 ET52 at the rear] forged lightweight 10-spoke wheel wheels in matt black which are exclusive to the AMG GT R. The car will go on sale on 21 November 2016, and the market launch in Europe begins in March 2017.

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PrEVIEW 2017 Bentley Mulsanne Speed

Another great month for ultra luxury motoring aficionados after Bentley Motors announced full details of its new Mulsanne Author: Chandan B Mallik


JUL 2016

For Britain-based Bentley Motors, by far, the Mulsanne sedan is regarded as the flagship of the Bentley range and represents everything the brand knows about building powerful and luxury cars. As part of the business strategy, for the first time, the Mulsanne family now comprises three models, each with their own unique abilities, attributes and specification. The trio are marketed as Mulsanne, Speed and latest addition, the extended wheelbase version which offers nearly 10 extra inches added to the rear passenger compartment. In the styling department, the Mulsanne’s traditionally smooth and stately design has given way to a more angular interpretation. While, the traditional upright grille is now over three inches wider and the polished stainless steel vertical vanes recall Bentley classics from the 1930s. The two large headlamps seem

to eliminate the droopiness seen in the current Mulsanne. All four headliamps are full LED units, with adaptive beams and independent washing systems. Lower grilles are also chrome, and B-shaped vents are now embedded in either mudguard. The rear taillamps are detailed with light bars. Since the car is entirely handbuilt, Bentley says that it takes around 90 hours to smooth the bodywork of the entire car. This means getting the various aluminium and steel sheet metal parts perfectly aligned. Big and small, there are 600 individual stampings making up the car’s bodywork. For the interior, as expected, the Mulsanne carries on with the traditional old school craftsmanship. On average, it takes 17 bull hides to do the seats, door panels and other parts. Chrome or wood is used as trim and strictly no plastic

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components are used in the cabin. In addition to 24 shades of leather, there are numerous stitching options, seatbelt and wool rug choices, all of it available in colours that either match or contrast. Infotainment system is upgraded to an eight-inch touchscreen with 60GB in-built memory storage. Bentley says Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems will be supported. Rear-seat passengers get 10.2in Android-powered removable tablets which also retract into the front seatbacks. Even in current garb, all the three versions of Mulsanne use the services of the 6.75litre V8. This L-Series engine was conceived in 1959 and still uses cam-inblock overhead-valve design. However, over the years, Bentley engineers have thoroughly modernized the engine with electronic controls and twin turbochargers. The base engine produces 505hp and 752lb-ft of torque and 530hp and 811 lb-ft in the Speed. Power is routed through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. On the

performance level, the generous torque pushes the base Mulsanne from 0-100km/h in 5.2secs and all the way up to a top speed of 295km/h. The Mulsanne Speed takes 4.9secs from 0-100km/h and tops out at 304km/h. For 2017MY, some of the engineering improvements include active engine mounts, new suspension bushings and updated air suspension system. The Continuous Damping Control and a Drive Dynamics Control System is offered with three factory and one custom setting as standard. Also new are tyres co-developed with Dunlop that utilise foam-filled cavities to reduce interior cabin noise. Several driver and convenience features are included in the package. For instance, the High Beam Assist automatically switches between high beam and dipped headlights when oncoming vehicles are detected. The system also adapts the shape of the light beam according to vehicle speed in three separate modes Town, Country and Motorway. Between

10 km/h and 250 km/h the Blind Spot Warning system detects vehicles behind the Mulsanne and in its blind spots, predicting the possibility of a collision. Visual warnings are issued to the driver via flashing lights in the door mirrors. For additional safety while on the move, the new Mulsanne comes with Advanced Automatic Stability Control (ASC) including collision mitigation features. The Drive Dynamics Control system, operated by a rotary switch mounted next to the gearshift selector, can be used to choose from three standard modes - Bentley, Sport and Comfort offering precise calibration of suspension and steering control systems. A fourth mode, Custom, allows the driver to select bespoke settings via the multimedia system to ‘tune’ the Mulsanne to a preferred driving style. 20in alloy wheels and 265/45 ZR 20 tyres come as standard and can be upgraded to 21in. Available in three styles, these rims come fitted with 265/40 ZR 21 tyres.

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PrEVIEW 2016 Audi S5 Coupe

Visually, not much has changed with the new 2016 Audi S5 CoupĂŠ, but thanks to a new forced fed engine, it offers the performance capabilities of a sports car. Author: Chandan B Mallik


JUL 2016

If you thought the current Audi S5 Coupe was just a lifestyle car with bland performance credentials, then please read further. The focus for the incoming model is more engineering to enhance its sporty dynamics and handling besides the usual refinements. The A5 coupe gains a bit dimensionally and sports a longer wheelbase. The overall profile and physical appearance of the car remains more or less unchanged except for a few detailing items. Over the years, it’s no secret that Audi engineers have experimented with various powertrain options and one doesn’t need to look too far to recall that the original S5 Sportback was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, and went on sale in the spring of 2010 with a 4.2-litre, naturally aspirated FSI V8 motor. A few years back, that was replaced by a supercharged 3.0-litre V6. For the current arrival, the forced fed 3.0-litre V6 which uses a twin-scroll turbo unit nestled between the cylinder banks, helps the direct-injection engine has been completely redesigned to make lighter by 14kg yet offer 354hp and 369lbft of torque. That means both power and torque are bumped by 21hp and 44 lb-ft more than its predecessor respectively. And as always with the S models, power is channelled through Quattro all-wheel drive. Audi claims that the drivetrain of the car has also been completely updated. The newly developed V6 engine mates exclusively to a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. Making the car more responsive and livelier is the revisited suspension packaging in the car’s Volkswagen MLB 2-drived new platform and now features a newly developed set up with five-link suspensions front and rear. The axle principle enables optimal absorption of longitudinal and transverse forces. Its mounts are sporty-stiff in a lateral direction and supple and soft longitudinally. Together with the updated electromechanical power steering with direct steering ratios, the mounts lay the foundation for dynamic handling, good comfort and a high degree of stability. With their low weight, the new parts also reduce fuel consumption. Audi also offers

optional dynamic steering, which adapts its steering ratio to the vehicle’s speed and the steering angle. As an alternative to the standard S sport suspension with highly sensitive monotube shock absorbers, Audi also offers a version with S-specific damper control for the new S5 Coupé. The driver can push a button to choose the default setting of the suspension in Audi drive select and thus call up the desired handling characteristics at any time. The variable S sport suspension works with newly developed CDC dampers (CDC = continuous damping control) with electromagnetically actuated valves in their pistons. Audi claims the incoming S5 rides and handles like a more refined version of its predecessor. The car’s interiors have also been revisited to make it appear spacious as well as what Audi calls ‘cultivated sportiness’. The cabin strikes a pleasant balance between grand touring plush and sports car features. The uncluttered design of the instrument panel uses horizontal orientation and centre of attention is the optional Audi virtual cockpit display system which highlights all key information in high resolution on its 12.3in tab-styled monitor. Views available to the driver include a sport mode around the tachometer. Audi’s MMI navigation plus now comes with MMI touch and an 8.3in monitor top the infotainment range. MMI touch has a touchpad for zooming and scrolling and for entering characters. The system includes the Audi connect hardware component, which connects the new Audi S5 Coupé to the Internet via LTE. Passengers can freely surf and email with their mobile devices thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi hotspot with optional data packages. The driver can use the diverse online services from the Audi connect portfolio. The optional Audi phone box with wireless charging connects smartphones to the on-board antenna via near-field coupling and simultaneously charges them inductively according to the Qi standard. The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple Car Play and Android Auto into the car. For hi-fi fans, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with new 3D sound is available.

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PrEVIEW 2017 Toyota C-HR

With the rising popularity of lifestyle crossovers like Nissan’s Juke, Toyota may be slightly late in the game but this is not to suggest that the Japanese automaker wasn’t considering such as proposition. St the Paris Motor Show in 2014, Toyota did offer a glimpse of its C-HR concept and took its own time in deciding whether to move forward or not. The good news is that Toyota has greenlighted the production of the C-HR and the production version hasn’t changed much from the concept presented. The incoming crossover introduces distinctive styling that brings newfound dynamism and sensuality to the crossover market. Dimensionally, it stands at 4,360mm long, 1,795mm wide, 1,555mm high (Hybrid) and on a 2,640mm wheelbase. Toyota designers have used the “Sensual Speed-Cross” concept to design the sheetmetal which features a diamond architectural theme with wheel arches projecting prominently at all four corners. The car’s structure combines lowered body on raised ground clearance resulting in a slim and sleek cabin mimicking a coupe. The car’s sheetmetal sports shapes with fluid surfaces and elegant detailing. Up front, the design represents a further development of Toyota’s Under Priority and Keen Look design identity. The slender upper grille flows from the Toyota badge into the sleek, aggressive wing extremities of the headlamp clusters and wraps fully around the front corners of the vehicle 72

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and the rocker panels have been blacked out towards the front and rear wheels, along with the shoulder axis that runs through to the front and rear. Disguised rear door handles are integrated within the C pillar and, essential to the representation of speed within the design, the powerful projection of the sweeping roofline into a large, highly aerodynamic, skeletal frame rear spoiler and the strongly tapered cabin integrates a top-hinged tailgate. Rear light come equipped with LED lamps. For the interior, there’s departure for Toyota. The interior styling of the CH-R represents a new ‘Sensual Tech’ design concept combining high-tech functionality with a sensual and fashionable style. It embodies a driver focused area within an airy, expansive cabin space created by the seamless layered architecture of the instrument panel that continues through to the door trim with a stylish ornamentation and a piano black panel. The driver’s operating switchgear, and 8in display audio touch-screen featuring a redesigned and improved interface along with Toyota’s navigation platform and enhanced connected services are slightly oriented towards the driver. In conjunction with the asymmetrical centre console design, this brings all controls within easy reach of the driver, whilst still allowing front passenger access to the relevant switchgear.

Toyota wants its newest crossover users to feel something special, something that a traditional SUV cannot offer. Enter the C-HR or CoupĂŠ High-Rider, an all-new ground breaking model for 2017 Author: Chandan B Mallik

A unique new two-tiered front seat design combines a slender, sporting upper section with a more strongly bolstered and supportive lower area, these differences emphasised through the use of differing tones, textures and patterns within the upholstery. Three main surface finishes - leather-like for all background surfaces, a smooth Nappa grain are offered. Depending on markets, three powertrain options will be offered. Top of the range is the latest-generation hybrid power plant which delivers combine 122hp. This new hybrid powertrain is not only more efficient and lighter than the previous system, but also offers sharper performance. The second option is a new 1.2-litre turbocharged engine which offers 116hp and 185Nm of torque mated to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a Continuously Variable Transmission. CVT equipped versions are available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The third option is the 2.0-litre 150 hp, 193 Nm CVT-only model which will be available for select markets. For a small crossover, the chassis set-up does sound promising. The rear suspension will be a multi-link system. As of now, most vehicles in this class offer torsion-beam configurations As part of Toyota’s commitment to democratise advanced safety equipment, Toyota Safety Sense is standard across the range. The system includes a Pre-Collision System (including Pedestrian Recognition), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with steering control and Road Sign Assist. JUL 2016


2016 Le Mans

As an endurance race in Europe, Le Mans tops it when it comes to surprises. The 2016 edition had all the trappings of a suspense drama with thrills, spills and unexpected results Author: Chandan B Mallik


JUL 2016

Podium for team Abu DhabiProton at Le Mans A proud and privileged moment for Emirati driver Khaled Al Qubaisi

This year, the 25 year dominance of European machines was extremely close to being broken had a technical glitch in the leading Toyota not happened with just three laps to go. Traditionally, Le Mans has been the favourite hunting ground for European brands, who have successfully dominated it for almost quarter of a century. For the record, till now, only one Japanese manufacturer has been able to crack it and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. That Japanese brand was Mazda with the legendary, rotaryengined 787B. This year, Toyota was nail biting close to winning the endurance race with their TS 050 car, piloted by Kazuki Nakajima. The Toyota seemed very strong from the beginning of the race and even gave the dominant Europeans to think about seriously. Nakajima San’s car ran without a glitch for almost 24 hours, but sadly it began to lose power due to turbocharger problems and eventually stalled on the pit straight with barely three minutes to go. Determined, the #5 car was able to be restarted and limped across the finish line for 45th place. Toyota’s #6 car had its own set of issues, mostly aerodynamic as the car suffered bodywork damage and also veered off track in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi. Driven to second place, the Toyota #6 passed

the finish line driven by Stéphane Sarrazin. The crown was taken by Porsche and the winning car was the #2 919 Hybrid. The win represented the 18th constructor title at Le Mans 24 Hours. The car was driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, and it proved to be more reliable than the #1 919 with Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley behind the wheel. The #2 Porsche piloted by Neel Jani and the #5 Toyota battled for the lead throughout the day. Had the Toyota not broken down, Audi would have missed a podium finish for the first time in 18 years. Turbocharger problems also plagued Audi’s #7 R18 e-tron Quattro driven by LottererTreluyer-Fassler. Face saving came for in the form of third place taken by the #8 Audi with Lucas Di Grassi driving. After the race, at the press conference a slightly dejected Toyota described the incredible moment when a certain maiden victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours slipped through its fingers as the leading #5 Toyota ground to a halt with three minutes remaining. In a post on social media, Porsche acknowledged Toyota’s impressive performance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.“Competed together for 24 hours. Head to head for 24 hours. Gained our respect forever,” read the post.

Emirati driver Khaled Al Qubaisi and Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing created history by becoming the first Emirati team to be on the podium (3rd in LMGTE Am class) at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), at Circuit de la Sarthe in France. For the Emirati, it was also another personal triumph as this is his second podium at Le Mans following a podium finish in 2014 (2nd in class). For the job, Al Qubaisi shared driving duties with David Heinemeier Hansson of Denmark and Patrick Long of the US behind the wheel of the #88 Porsche 911 RSR. The race began under safety car due to heavy rain. With standing water on the track and extremely poor visibility, the cars spent almost an hour running at reduced speeds before it was safe to start racing. When the green flags waved, the track dried up rapidly and this set the tone for action-packed racing. The #88 Porsche 911 RSR climbed from P3 to P2 and then P1 shortly after racing began and Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing led for most part of the first 12 hours of the race. However, as night fell, Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing slipped to second and as the hours ticked away the No.88 Porsche 911 RSR was engaged in a fierce battle with the #62 Ferrari. In the closing stages of the race, the #88 was battling for second place and eventually settled for P3

instead of jeopardising the team’s chances of finishing on the podium. The competition was always going to be tough, but racing in track temperatures that were hovering around 17°C, the #88 Porsche 911 RSR did exhibit good pace and balance. The outcome would have been better, but the low temperatures in the night affected the performance of the tyres thus costing Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing the lead. Given the conditions, Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing concentrated on avoiding any incidents and staying on course to achieving their goal of taking a place on the podium. Al Qubaisi kept the team in the hunt for a podium place, pitting with four hours still to go and handing over the wheel to Patrick long, with David Heinemeier Hansson, who had earlier given the team a flying start, bringing the No.88 Porsche 911 RSR home safely in third place. Al Qubaisi said: “It is always great to be racing at Le Mans, and just finishing the race is an achievement in itself and being on the podium is indeed an honour. Obviously, we are a little disappointed as we could have finished higher. Having said that, we had a good race overall but the low temperatures did affect the performance of our tyres. Nevertheless, finishing in P3 is still a big achievement for the team. “Also, I am extremely happy with my second podium at Le Mans following my first podium at the 2014 race here.” The team clocked 330 laps at an average speed of 206.2/ km with a best lap of 3:57.989 over the 24-hour endurance race. The team did a total of 23 pit stops. Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing will next be in action at the 6 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany on the weekend of July 24.

JUL 2016


Formula One

Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix in Spielberg in dramatic fashion after passing Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg for the lead on the very last lap. The pair made contact in the move, leaving Rosberg to trail home fourth, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium.


fter a stewards’ investigation, Rosberg - whose brake-by-wire system went into passive mode on the penultimate lap - was handed a 10-second penalty for causing a collision, but kept fourth place. He also recieved a reprimand for failing to stop with a seriously damaged car. Behind Hamilton, Verstappen drove another superb race to take second, 5.7s behind and only three-tenths of a second ahead of a charging Raikkonen. The Finn’s partner Sebastian Vettel had looked comfortable in front after early leader Hamilton had stopped to switch his ultrasoft Pirelli tyres for softs, but the Ferrari suffered a violent right-rear supersoft puncture on the 27th lap and crashed into the pit wall. Pirelli say they will investigate the cause fully. Hamilton had led at the start as McLaren’s Jenson Button kept fast-starting 76

JUL 2016

Raikkonen at bay until the eighth lap. Rosberg was the first pit stopper, on lap 10, but Hamilton made his ultrasofts last until the 21st lap. A delay with his left-rear tyre enabled Rosberg, who had started sixth, to get ahead, however, which set up their epic fight. Hamilton’s stop dropped him to fourth as Raikkonen led for a lap before his own stop, and that put Vettel ahead from Rosberg and Hamilton, as Raikkonen dropped behind the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. The safety car was deployed as Vettel’s debris was cleared up - for two laps cars were diverted through the pits then Rosberg took up the lead from Hamilton as racing resumed on the 32nd lap. The gap between the battling Silver Arrows was rarely more than two seconds as Hamilton bided his time. Rosberg seemed to have things nicely under control, though, despite carrying some rubber debris

from Vettel’s tyre and damage to his left barge board, and as they chased one another, single-stopping Verstappen firmly established himself in third place as Ricciardo kept Raikkonen under control. Hamilton got the gap down to 0.9s on the 44th lap, before Rosberg eased it up again, then the Englishman pitted on the 54th lap to get the undercut. He had no new supersoft tyres left, so had to go to another set of softs; Rosberg pitted a lap later and took his remaining supersofts, and came out still in the lead. He maintained that at just over a second for a long time, as both caught and passed Verstappen, who had taken the lead during their stops. But on the 67th lap Hamilton really went on to the attack and sliced the gap to 0.7s, then 0.4s for two laps. But Rosberg was unflustered until making a mistake in Turn 1 on that last lap and letting Hamilton get a

big run on him going down to Turn 2. He got inside Rosberg in the preceding gentle left curve, but that left him on the outside of Turn 2. Rosberg appeared to let his car run wide until contact was made, and Hamilton was eased into the run-off area. The stewards later said that the German had failed to leave ‘racing room’. The pair nearly collided again as Hamilton kept his foot in, rejoined the track and swept past Rosberg’s ailing car on the approach to Turn 3. Rosberg’s wing was damaged in the contact, and as he was slowing Sergio Perez complicated the issue by going off the road in a big shunt at Turn 3 after a brake failure, putting the final touch to a brutally disappointing race for Force India. With Rosberg hobbled, Hamilton sped on to his 46th career victory, as Verstappen just kept Raikkonen at bay and the second Mercedes limped home for fourth.

Hamilton to receive grid penalties

Lewis Hamilton is expected to receive grid penalties in upcoming races for exceeding allocated power unit components for the year. As with the rules set, every driver is allocated a total of five complete power units. Hamilton has nearly used all of his allocated components with half of the season still to go. Hamilton, despite having reliability issues, is still second in the championship. But the reigning champion seems to have come to terms with the fact that later on in the year, grid-penalties are coming his way and will have to make every one of his moves with utmost care. Stating “it is what it is”, Hamilton has a fresh engine (his third internal combustion engine) in his Mercedes for the Austrian GP, and his allocation of five turbo chargers and MGU-H units has now reached its maximum. Hamilton is also on his third MGU-K unit and his fourth energy store and control electronics system now. Hamilton is expecting at least one or two, 10-place grid penalties in the coming races. But if reliability problems don’t crop up again, Hamilton claims that he will take a penalty at races where he believes he can easily climb up the order and possibly challenge for the win, after careful assessment.

End of the road for Kimi Raikkonen with Ferrari?

It seems that Ferrari has put a hold on signing the dotted line for Kimi Raikkonen’s for 2017 season. Ferrari, desperate to gain back lost glory has been banking on its drivers to get the desired results and till now that has not happened. As a result, whether Kimi Raikkonen will continue to race for the team in 2017 has become a subject of speculation with rumours beginning to float around the paddock. Some suggest that Sergio Perez might make a move to Ferrari, as the Mexican driver said that anything can happen in F1, and did not deny that he is not looking around for other opportunities, but is currently focused on the task at hand with Force India. Meanwhile, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has told Kimi Raikkonen that he now needs to deliver results to prove that he ‘deserves’ another contract for 2017. Raikkonen’s current deal runs out at the end of the year and, despite a promising start to the campaign, recent disappointing performances have cast doubt about whether or not he will be retained. Marchionne had come in to this year aiming for world title glory, but so far the team has not won a race. Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene recently explained to the team had been caught out by how tricky the SF-16H is to set-up, and improving in that area is now key to turning around its campaign.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg dominated the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe, beating Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Force India’s Sergio Perez to victory at the new Baku City Circuit.


JUL 2016


osberg led into Turn 1 and was never challenged as a tactical battle unfolded behind him to see who would finish ‘best of the rest’. Starting 10th on the grid, Hamilton rose as high as fourth before his charge was halted by ERS problems on his F1 W07. After several laps down on power, the world champion eventually found the right settings on his steering wheel to resolve the issue, but by then it was too late to improve his position. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen took fourth, while Valtteri Bottas was the lead Williams in sixth, ahead of the two-stopping Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Williams’ Felipe Massa completed the top ten. Rosberg’s was a superb

redemptive victory - his fifth of the season - and the German never put a wheel wrong on a day when Mercedes crushed Ferrari. Against all expectations after two carnage-ridden GP2 races with multiple safety car deployments, there were no major incidents - but lots of passing. Rosberg was in charge from the start and was completely unchallenged. Ricciardo gave chase initially until Vettel powered his Ferrari past the Red Bull on the main straight on the sixth lap as the Australian pitted early to switch from supersoft Pirelli tyres to softs. A handful of others did likewise on twostop strategies, but when he was instructed to pit on the eighth lap, Vettel overrode Ferrari and would stay out until lap 20, a lap before Rosberg pitted. Instead, Raikkonen took that

stop, and as Vettel finished second, 16.6s behind Rosberg - it had been as much as 19.8s on the 44th lap - the Finn seemed set to finish third after a lengthy second stint. But he had incurred a fivesecond penalty for crossing the pit entry line without entering the pits, and with Perez thundering along in fourth within that window in the final laps, the Mexican was clearly going to be the final podium finisher. The Mexican rammed the point home however - as Raikkonen suffered late ERS problems (as he had in Canada), Perez jumped him going into Turn 1 on the final lap to put the gloss on an excellent drive for Force India that made up for his shunt in FP3 which cost him his rightful second place on the grid thanks to a gearboxchange penalty.


ith championship leader Nico Rosberg only able to manage fifth after first-corner contact with team mate Hamilton and a late-race puncture, the gap between the Mercedes men at the top of the table is now down to just nine points. Max Verstappen was a fighting fourth for Red Bull, resisting intense pressure from Rosberg in the closing laps and forcing the Mercedes driver into a mistake and a spin on the final tour. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, while seventh went to Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez completing the top ten, split by the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, who came from 20th on the grid to secure ninth place.

Hamilton might have messed up another start, but when it mattered on the Circuit GillesVilleneuve he “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee” as he overcame Ferrari’s most consistent and convincing challenge since Malaysia 2015. Hamilton dedicated the win to the late Muhammad Ali, out of respect for the inspiration the boxing legend provided during his early career. The German leapt away and appeared to have a lock on the race, as a touch between Hamilton and Rosberg in Turn 1 left the second Mercedes driver down in ninth place. But when he made his first pit stop, on the 11th lap, Ferrari put Vettel on to the supersoft Pirellis, committing him to a second stop later on as use of the soft tyre was mandatory here.

A race full of drama saw Rossi win a thrilling battle over Marquez as Iannone takes out Lorenzo

Hamilton led for the next 13 laps, dropping to second again as he switched to soft rubber. When Vettel then pitted for softs on the 37th lap, the battle was well and truly on. Vettel rejoined only 7.8s behind the Mercedes, and victory seemed assured, but Hamilton was having none of it. Vettel got the gap down to 4.3s by the 55th lap, but then a mistake at the final corner cost him time, as did another


rom fifth on the grid, Rossi was shuffled back in the opening melee and found himself down in seventh as the first lap began to play out. At the beginning of the second lap he and Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) made an incredible pass on Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team), demoting the Italian to sixth. ‘The Doctor’ was on fire and was almost immediately on Pedrosa’s tail, passing him into the new Turn 10 on the third lap. On lap seven he took the lead from teammate Lorenzo with a classic move into Turn 1. Marquez came back at Rossi in the last five laps; the battle was fierce with no

five laps later. By then it was clear that Ferrari’s strategy of using Pirelli’s optimum tyre choice was not going to work. It had been based on 40 degrees C track temperature, but in the race that never went beyond 23 degrees. Vettel nevertheless finished an honourable second, five seconds adrift, having shown sufficient speed with Ferrari’s revised turbocharger to suggest that the rest of the season will be a fantastic fight.

love lost between the two. Marquez launched from pole position for the first time at his home race, managing to hold onto second into the first corner. The local rider soon found himself with Rossi for company, the Italian slipping up the inside on lap six. Marquez was not deterred and soon followed Rossi through on Lorenzo, right back with his great rival. Five laps from the end and they were right together, Marquez doing all he could to wrestle past Rossi. He may have been unable to battle for victory, but Marquez moves to the head of the championship and is ten points clear of Lorenzo in second.

JUL 2016


GIVING UP ANY SEMBLANCE OF CONTROL In more than a hundred years of the automobile, there has never been any doubt that the auto bit of the word meant that the vehicle could move under its own power. But today the paradigm is beginning to change. The new age of the self-piloting car is upon us – in effect they are they new autoautomobile. The stuff of science fiction is becoming fact and you and me are going to find ourselves in the enforced rest of a driver’s seat without a steering wheel attached. Let’s dig a little deeper into why the whole idea of a car that can drive itself brings out differing opinions in people. In all the years I’ve been in the business of automotive journalism, I’ve had more than my share of people who either love driving, are passionate about speed and just love the thrills of taking a fast car around a track. In short, the bulk of the people I meet in the normal case could be slotted on a scale of from better than average to bleeding motor oil. But that, I am informed, is not necessarily the complete world as we know it. Apparently there is a huge section of the public that is completely indifferent to the joys of driving – in fact there are some that would have nothing to do with it. I should have been better informed, I live with someone who thinks it’s a chore and would happily let me take over anytime. In a modern family only one member needs to be a driver. But what about family units that don’t have a driver amidst them. And how about the greater needs of the transport industry? The very idea of a self-piloting car is so very tempting to so many people and that’s why Google and now Apple are getting in on that, while Tesla is making the big move from electric traction to the next stage.

Raj Warrior is now managing editor of Automan and has been in the thick of the Automotive journalism field from the past 18 years. Want to comment or have your say? Email at Identify yourself or your message will be trashed and your id blocked

Of course, there are the usual pitfalls of any new leap ahead in technology. The big wrinkle that the technology had till recently was Google’s car hitting a bus. Now we’ve had the first loss of life, with a Tesla car being involved in a highway accident. Is it perhaps only secondary that the driver was watching a Harry Potter movie as he died? And that’s not going to be the last death that’s caused by the magic of programming and logic trying to navigate the highways and crossings of the real world. Do you ever question a driver’s ability to do this? Even if he is a 18-year old first timer on the road? Even in very lax licencing regimes, a driver can do everything necessary to avoid hitting others or sundry stationary objects – till one day an accident happens and it is more often than not blamed on ‘human error’. So now do we blame it on machine error? And just count the insurance cost of the event and get on with life? We are going to get a lot more of this happening. BMW has announced it will be building robot cars, Nissan has a clear roadmap of how we will be sold increasingly capable selfpiloting cars over the next decade and almost every manufacturer worth their salt already has cars that have varying degrees of ability to drive in a laser measured convoy and brake to a halt. It wasn’t so long ago that no manufacturer would dare offer that, as the litigation costs in the US alone would have broken them if any accident had happened as a result of that. What has changed now? For one, the regulatory environment in the United States has, with states already looking at framing laws that will allow self-driving cars. We will soon see the European Union and Japan doing their bit as well. And the technology has reached the point where manufacturers can sign off on increasingly sophisticated cars. And then there’s the thrill of being a pioneer in the field. It’s good to see that the past two decades have brought out the next phase in the journey of the automobile and that we are here to take a ride in it. However I have to admit that I’ll really miss that steering wheel.


JUL 2016

Automan 178  

Automan issue no 178 (Issue of July 2016)

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