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CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 5

CARMA

India’s First Free Automotive e-magazine

The Team

Vignesh Venkatakrishnan Ramakrishnan Praveen Srikanth Anjan Ravi Shreyas Hande Sunil Rao Raghavan Ravi Sathyajith Saishridhar Sai Srinivasan Swathi I.

Photography

Publicity

Dhanya Ramaswamy Dheeraj Murramshetti Janani Venkatesh Abishek Ananth Anil Kumar Peraka Kalpana Ramesh Ajeetha Ramachandhran Ruchira Suresh Aravind Venkatakrishnan

Content Quality

Arvind Ramanathan

Dhanya Ramaswamy

Praveen Srikanth

Janani Venkatesh

Online Activity

Abishek Ananth

Yashwanth B.K

Ruchira Suresh


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Special thanks to Mr. Royce Rumsey Mr. Rajiv Gunja Mr. Gautham Raghuraman Mr. Arun Thangaraj Mr. K. Natarajan

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 5

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CARM

Previews Audi A4

Hyundai i20 Fluidic KTM Duke

Exclusives Audi R drive

Mercedes Star Drive

Features CARMA Tips Deeply Dismantled


MA i6

Reviews

Honda CBR 150

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Vintage Classic Mercedes 1956 300SL


With issue 6, CARMA is celebrating its sixth months

of production. Although it may seem like a small number to a few, it has proved to be a milestone for us. For the past 5 months, we have been iterating and introspecting in terms of contemporary content. Now that we feel we are quite stable, we will be initiating a whole new set of services! To start with, we are launching the CARMA Shopster where we will venture into automotive consultancy. Success stories will be uploaded as well. Through this note, I would like to voice my opinions with respect to certain queries that I have been approached with. Top of the mind, is the question about the next automotive revolution – electrics v/s fuel guzzlers, that is, whether electrics are on the verge of replacing the fuel guzzlers. I disagree. Going electric is a good option. But it’s not India-friendly yet making this shift a non starter at this juncture. Or should I rephrase that – India is not electricity friendly yet. Emissions alone should not be the primary concern of an individual. It should rather be the global Celebrating 6 months of fuel crisis on the whole. It is not even about cost of fuel, CARMA! but scarcity of fossil fuels per se. So why do I disagree? The logic is simple. Energy conversion is not 100%. In fact, it is almost as low as 60%, which means that there is an inherent inefficiency of 40%. There is also an efficiency drop in converting crude oil to usable fossil fuel. Furthermore, efficiency loss comes into play when we burn fossil fuels. Ultimately efficiency loss occurs while converting the produced electricity into vehicle motion. It is about dealing with a multi-fold efficiency loss in electric vehicles just to save on emissions. Apparently we will be spending more for less and simultaneously, while adopting newer technology to reduce emission end up increasing the same. Electric vehicles come with attendant technological, not so user friendly issues. You need to charge them like you charge your cell phone every night. Unfortunately, some of them come with special chargers that may not even be compatible and may require frequent recharging as they last only for a few hours. If you want a car for running daily errands or to go to a nearby park for a jog, you can probably give it a shot. But one must bear in mind – No flyovers, no high beams for a long time as blinkers consume high amount of charge, Limited use of wipers in rainy days and topping it all, an air-con killing your battery life. So what is the alternative? A reasonably feasible alternative is bio fuel. And given the present day scenario, I would say it has to be bio-diesel. Of course, one cannot ignore loss in power and torque values. But the trade off between loss in torque and power loss slants towards improved the fuel economy of the engine. With that suggestion, I end this note. Do check this issue out and mail your feedback to feedback@autocarma.in . Your feedback is very valuable to us! Vignesh Venkatakrishnan Ramakrishnan Co-Founder, CARMA. vignesh@autocarma.in


Hello and welcome to the sixth issue!! We’ve in fact com-

pleted half a year and I can’t begin to express how much fun it has been to run India’s first ever free car mag! Quite a lot has happened in modernising automobiles. Seatbelts, airbags, traction control you name it we have it. Yet there is no definite answer for curbing drunken driving. Notice that I’m being very specific. I say ‘Curbing Drunken Driving’, meaning that a person under the influence of alcohol, should not even venture, nay, think about opening the driver side door! There continue to be huge campaigns which range from commercials endorsed by Michael Schumacher to protests made by the Gen-X (even though they contribute the most towards drunken driving ironically!). Yes, the awareness has increased considerably and it gets people to think twice. As much as all this is going on, the deaths related to alcohol has never seen a slide down and that disturbs me sometimes. This is mainly because there are plenty of people out there who think alcohol doesn’t impair their judgement and in fact it is so pure that it can be substituted for Welcoming CARMA’s elixir. To all those people out there, this note is dedicated issue 6 for you. I have come up with a simple and in fact legal test which would definitely set these people thinking. First we take a sober person and give them a car along with a set of instructions. These include something like unlocking the doors without central locking, adjusting the driver’s seat for length and height and the steering, opening the boot and bonnet, inserting the key in the ignition etc. I’m assuming our person would be able to complete all these tasks, in let’s say 2 minutes? Now pump about 30ml of alcohol in their system and give the same set of instructions. How long do you think it took them to complete? 5 minutes? Nope. He got stuck at adjusting the driver’s seat for height! Not to mention scratches made on the door by the key as the person couldn’t find the keyhole. When a person can’t even adjust a car seat under the influence of alcohol, do you think they can drive? This is especially for those unfortunate cases where the passengers haven’t had anything to drink and ironically don’t know how to drive. You can also in fact try playing a game such as NFS or Midtown Madness before and after having alcohol. Let me know how the result is. It would be naive of me to conclude without giving some concrete advice. Many pubs these days give something called as a ‘Designated Driver’ badge. Once a person has these badges pinned on, he/she is not served any alcohol at all. Also, certain car makers such as Nissan have actually fit breath analysers in their cars. The car will not start if it senses alcohol in your breath and monitors your driving for any erratic inputs. I personally think this is a very good device to have in your car. However, the response which it has generated has been sad. The reason being that people in the UK and US do not want this system to be in place. They say that they are very much capable of ‘operating’ a ‘machine’ after a couple of beers which brings me back to square one. Anjan Ravi Editor, CARMA. anjan@autocarma.in


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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Audi r drive

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

RS 5 and R 8

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Audi RS 5

Audi has seen its Indian sales grow rapidly

ever since they started here. Cars like the A4, A6 and even the A8 are dime-a-dozen these days. In fact the Audi R8 is the best selling supercar in India!! Naturally then, when they called us over for their R Drive event- which we hope will become a yearly thing, we had to go and sample what was in store. The R Drive event was held at almost all the major cities in India. In Chennai, it was held at the Fisherman’s Cove and we got to drive

the cars on the ECR connecting Chennai and Pondicherry. Now I’ve been living in Chennai for most of my life and I can tell you that the ECR is the most dangerous road here. Somehow, the intensity of danger triples and even quadruples on weekends, for very obvious reasons. So I was extremely surprised when I found out that Audi was asking us to take the R8 and the RS5 on these roads. Anyhow, I returned back alive so I shall not complain!

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As soon as I arrived, a showroom fresh, black, Audi RS5 greeted me with its day-time running lights on. After the initial formalities and registrations were done, I had a nice time exploring each and every inch of the RS5. The build quality is terrific as expected. The view from the seats is pretty good and the seats themselves hold you very snugly as is expected in a car of this stature. There is a lot of stuff behind the steering wheel. Apart from your standard indicator stalks and wiper stalks, there is a separate stalk for the Cruise Control.

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Also situated behind the steering wheel are the beautifully crafted machined aluminium paddle shifters. These paddles provide the perfect weight for an upshift or a downshit and its literally like loading and firing a rifle! Complimenting the exhaust note of the car is the awesome Bang&Olufsen media system. If you’re not entertained with the car, trust me, you’ll definitely be entertained with the audio system it comes with. .

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The exteriors of the car does justice to Audi’s design language. The RS5 sports the huge Bulgarian Beard with the old A4 like headlamps. In fact, you could easily mistake this for the A4 from the front and rear. Its only when you view the side profile or hear the monstrous V8 do you realize what it actually is. The RS5 sports a lower and wider stance than a normal A4/ A5. This is apparent the way the front bumpers bulge outwards to make room for those huge air damps. Get it in the traditional red color as all sportscars and supercars are meant to be

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

and it looks gorgeous. At this point, you would normally expect me to criticize the car for something I don’t like. And I shall. The seatbelt fastener has to be made of one of the cheapest materials I can imagine. The red plastic which is supposed to depress to release the seatbelt feels atrociously cheap and makes an equally cheap clicking noise while using it. It makes you wonder how an organization as large and reputed such as Audi, could have passed on this seatbelt in a near Rs 1 Crore car!

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

That is the only thing I did not like with the interiors of the RS5. Oh no, wait, I’ve another actually. Its not exactly a problem though as much as an expectation. Our fb fans would have seen this particular photo where I hold the key fob of the RS5 in my hands. Its basically the same as that of a Skoda/VW key fob but with ‘RS’ written on it. Somehow I feel that if I’m buying a two-door sports sedan which is meant to look the part as well as go very fast, the piece of plastic/metal to bring the engine to life should be something special as well. As

I said before, this is an expectation rather than a complaint as such. On the equipment front, the RS5 is generously equipped. You get almost everything including the kitchen sink! Airbags, ABS, TCS, EBD and any other three letter acronym you can think of, this car has it all. You can change the suspension settings as well and you get a few predefined modes such as Comfort, Sport and Individual. RS5 comes with Audi’s traditional all wheel drive Quattro system.

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This engine churns out 444bhp of power at its insane 8250rpm! Its no surprise then that you get 43kgm of torque from 2000-4000rpm. Combine this with the 7 Speed S-Tronic gearbox and the RS5 would gladly do the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.6secs. And trust me, this car has no second thoughts when you’re in a hurry and will happily sit on its electronically limited 250km/h top speed! I start the car and I’m quickly greeted with the fantastic ‘boom’ all V8’s offer and this one has turned up the volume all the way to 11!! A few throttle prods provide the much needed noise to wake up anyone at the hotel. The front seat slides forward and the photographer is quickly loaded. Surprisingly, the RS5’s rear bench has decent space for someone to sit and photograph as well. Gaurav Dalal, who is a well known racer sits in the passenger seat just to ensure that I don’t get too carried away and... umm...run away with the car! He quickly sets the suspension to its sportiest mode and we’re off. Mind you, the road from the hotel to the highway is extremely uneven and has quite a few potholes and bumps. Gaurav tells me that they are not going to get the underbody of the

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RS5 and they did not. Out on the highway, I’m told to floor the throttle and experience the acceleration of the 4.2 V8. The 0-100km/h acceleration is brutal if not savage! Many things happen at once. The engine is screaming at the top of its voice, the rev counter says that you’re approaching the 8250rpm red line, there’s a hint of wheel spin with a discreet screech and you’re holding on to that steering wheel as if you were sitting in a roller-coaster! Fire that upshift and the entire process repeats itself all over again! Its an experience which can stop people from smoking as its that addictive! True, you’ll be burning 97 octane fuel (you can use only 97) instead of nicotine, but who cares. Satisfied with the acceleration bursts, I decide to cruise for a while and check out the in-gear acceleration bursts. The road played excellent sport by giving us long trailer lorries to overtake. Its very simple with the RS5. Look for oncoming traffic. If the road is clear overtake. If it isn’t, go ahead overtaking as well!

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Stamp the aluminium pedal and wait for about half a second for a huge noise like as though a volcano just erupted. In this time, the car comprehends what you’re doing, changes the gear to the lowest possible and tries to supply that entire 43kgm of torque. This is extremely addicting as well. Its like the RS5 devours the vehicle you’re overtaking! Savage is an understated word to use for this. In fact, a drop of petrol is added to the hot engine just so that you get a noise while downshifting! And you thought petrol can only move things? Well it makes quite some noise as well! To make sure idiots like me don’t end up elsewhere, the RS5 is equipped with huge 8 piston fixed caliper brakes. The brakes provide tremendous bite and stop when asked to. The brake pedal on the other hand could have been a bit more communicative. Also on option are 19in ceramic brakes.

throughout and you’ll have to be a very bad (or good?) driver to upset the car.

Once I finished depleting the 97 Octane fuel, I decided to check out the steering and handling of the car. There was not much I could do as the road was pretty straight. However, on the few opportunities that I got, I felt that the steering was a bit light. Its especially so just before you enter the curve and I felt that the steering could have been a bit more communicative and could have weighed up a bit more. However, we were not on a track that day and as a result, I cannot pin point the exact nature of the steering. The handling, on the other hand is superb. The RS5 feels balanced

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What I did like was the ride of the car. After reading reviews of the RS5 from various sources, I was expecting the ride to be a bit firm. Surprisingly, it was very pliant even in the hardest of suspension modes. Potholes were dealt with properly. Even when the terrain was pretty bad, the RS5 did very well. Overall, if you can drive a Civic on a road, you can certainly drive the RS5! Overall, I was very impressed with the RS5 and it is certainly a car you must try before putting your money in a BMW M3 or even a Merc C63 AMG. Considering Audi’s asking price of about 77lakhs, it is actually decent value as well. And no, I did not bother to tell you about fuel economy as its better not to know of those things while ripping the RS5. They say ignorance is bliss and I happily apply that concept here. If you must know though, the RS5 has a 64lt fuel tank and if driven carefully, it is possible to extract at least 5-6kpl. Drive it like your rear is on fire and expect that figure to drop to as low as 3-4kpl! The main reason I suspect is the consumption of fuel during downshifts. However, this should not deter you from driving this car as it is something which will put a smile on your face and give your ears something as well! I know for a fact that if I wanted to throw 3/4th of a crore in buying a car, this would certainly be a worth contender!

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Audi R8

I don’t have a problem in waking up early as I’m

used to that by now. The reason why I usually wake up pretty early though, as early as 4:30, would be to take my dog for a walk or hit the gym maybe. So you can obviously expect how early I would have gotten up when there was an Audi R8 waiting to be driven on a highway. Let me start with the description of the car. Audi offers the R8 in two different body styles; the first is the Coupe which has a hard top and the second is the soft top named appropriately as the Spyder. Audi also offers two engines (three in international markets) for the R8. You can have it in the ‘less powerful’ 4.2 V8 also doing duty on the RS5. Or you can have the outrageous Lamborghini sourced 5.2 V10! The Spyder is available only with the 5.2 V10 and that is the car I drove.

Also the Spyder has its front windscreen frame in the Aluminium color and its not painted to the body color like the Coupe. These are the differences between the two. For the more insane of you though, I would like to add that the Spyder is 3mm longer than the Coupe and this extra length is focussed fully on the rear to store Exterior wise, there is little to distinguish the Spy- the roof. You also get V10 badges on the fenders der from the Couple. The fabric roof is apparent and of the car which are the only distinction from a you can have it in a choice of three colors- Black, normal V8. Red or Brown. www.autocarma.in

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The R8 has always been a handsome car and I don’t think I should go any further to explain how the car looks. All I can tell you is that the R8 looks even better with the roof down. Now for the technicals. The R8 is powered by the Lamborghini sourced 5.2 V10 which makes 525bhp at 8000rpm. Peak torque of 53kgm is made at 6500rpm. You have the option of having the 6 Speed manual or the sequential 6 Speed R Tronic which is what I had.

Audi’s traditional Quattro system sends power to all four wheels. Speaking about wheels, you get huge 19 inch 295/30 at the rear and 235/35 at the front. The grip level is top notch and these wheels help you in taking the R8 to its 313km/h top speed. The R8 goes from 0-100km/h in 4.1secs. For the more observant of you, that time may seem slow and you’re right. The Spyder is slower to the 100km/h dash by 0.2secs and has 3km/h of a lesser top speed than its Coupe cousin.

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There is a very good reason for this. Since there is no hard roof as such on the Spyder, Audi engineers had to add extra weight on the sides of the car to increase the rigidity and stability. As a result the Spyder is 100kg more heavier than the Coupe. For the same reason mentioned above, I though the R8 Soyder wouldn’t be as fun around a corner as it would be a bit tail happy. There is literally nothing in front except the decently sized boot. Speaking of which, the boot is actually quite decent and you can definitely store a couple of suitcases laterally. I open the door and sit inside nevertheless. First thing I do is strap my seatbelt, and surprise surprise! It has the same cheap seatbelt fastener from the RS5 and I can’t imagine why Audi would do this on the R8 as well. A quick look through the cabin says a lot. Things are where they should be. You get a centralized screen which doubles as a music system. You get the fantastic Bang&Olufsen stereo. The gear shifter reminds me of a 70’s mike and it looks pretty cool. I receive the key and once again its the same VW key you get for a Polo/Vento and I let out a small sigh. Twist the key traditionally

(no push to start here) and before you start the car, the rev counter and the speedo do a superbike like swing and come back. That is the only time you can see the speedo touch 350km/h! Start the car and the exhaust note makes the RS5 feel like a small kitten in comparison to the R8! The ‘vroom’ is enormous and you’re even more inclined to push the aluminium throttle to listen to the V10 sing. This has to be one of the best sounding cars available in India! And just when you think the noise is all what you could ask for, there is a small button which when depressed retracts the roof and puts it inside. The car sounds even more awesome now. Suraj, from Audi joins me in the passenger seat and after I adjust the superbly supportive seats, off we go. The initial road out to the highway is in a pretty bad state and Suraj quickly reassures me that the R8 would not scrap its belly. I make a 90 degree turn to the right and I now have a straight, super flat, relatively empty highway. I pause for a second and this gives me the feeling of a plane taking off !

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And like all take-off ’s, I build power to about 4000rpm and let go of the brakes. A huge screech and its apparent that the rear tires are scrambling for grip, a hint of white smoke and a massive force pushing you down to your seat! I glance at the speedo and the 5.2 is approaching its 8000rpm redline. A tug at the paddle and the entire process repeats itself again, only more mental than before. The speedo flashes past 120 and has no hopes of letting go! I’ve never driven a car in which the speedometer goes from 110 to 130 like as though it forgot to stop a bit. The way this car goes is absolutely mental and giving the R8 the 5.2 V10 has to be one of the best things ever done! It compliments the car very well. In terms of power and performance, an easy 10/10 for the Audi! A few more acceleration bursts later, I decide to check out the in-gear acceleration as well. The familiar story of overtaking the car in front of you is accomplished before you realize what just happened! The gearbox is extremely quick even in its normal mode and has no hesitation to downshift at all. Impressed with the power of the car, I decide to show it some

corners. I was a bit apprehensive given that the car weighs more at the rear and thought I would be forced to slow down during cornering. I was completely wrong. In the R8 Spyder, grip and handling go hand to hand. There is so much grip from those wide Pirelli PZero’s and the car is beautifully balanced and exhibits a certain poise which makes cornering super fun. This car has a Go-Kart like handling. The steering was very well weighed and actually felt like tugging those wheels. Even the smallest flick of the steering alters the direction of the car and this truly gives you an extraordinary driving experience. A 10/10 from my side for the handling department as well! The brakes of the R8 are extremely powerful and provide much needed stopping power that is expected in a car of this nature. There is no squirming of tires under hard braking as well and there is always the option to include the Ceramic brakes. The ride is very good for a car of this class and most bumps and potholes were dealt with well. One thing I did realize after driving the car was its level of heat dissipation.

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The R8 seemed to emit a lot of heat from its radiators and it was actually uncomfortable standing behind the car. The tires were extremely hot as well. I think Chennai heat could be a factor in this though. The fuel efficiency is pretty decent for a car like this and you can expect a figure of more than 3kpl. Once again, 97 Octane is a must. Now for that final question of buying the car. The R8 Spyder costs about 1.3Crores. Now you might think I’m mad, but I think that is fabulous value for money! You get entry to that fabulous supercar club with the R8. Add to that the fact that the R8 is a well acknowledged supercar throughout the globe and it is used in the Le-Man’s races as well. A few of

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you are saying that the soft top is not feasible for a hot country like India. Well, I live in Chennai where the heat is extreme, the car was tested during summer where we have a heat wave here and I can say without any doubts that is twice the fun to drive the R8 with the top down! If I had 1.3 C’s and I weren’t saving up for a Lambo or a Ferrari, the R8 Spyder is the one I would buy. Which says a lot because you actually experience the similar level of fun of a Lambo in a package which costs less than half ! That is something you just can’t argue with!

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Volume 1 Issue 5 CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED APRIL 2012 May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Deeply Dismantled An overview of the Differential.

We have all had the experience of vroomvrooming with the cars as a kid. The continuous blah-blah ing of yours as a tweeny toddler would probably be remembered by everyone in the family. But do you remember as a kid you had to take a long way to turn the car across any circle. But in actual vehicle, you don’t really have to go in for a long radius to take a turn. Turning is a very specific function of the vehicle, you have many roads constructed at various angles. But then you have one vehicle to cruise on all of them. Have you ever thought about how a vehicle negotiates a steep turn on a hilly slope, or how it goes down the street to your home? The fact is: When you turn your vehicle across the right, the wheels on the right side of your road have to take a turn of small radius com-

pared to the outer wheels. Then only you will be able to take turns at any bend. Though the differential unit is not as commonly heard as your gearbox, engine etc, its function is more vital than the rest. And in fact among all the parts of the automobile this is the only part you can see easily. As you wait for the traffic signal to turn green, you look at the vehicle before you, say an auto or lorry. The spherical unit in between the rear wheels is your differential unit. As in the previous articles I mentioned the working of shafts and gears. The differential is also made of shafts and gears, but it employs three shafts, instead of two. The power from the gearbox comes via the propeller shaft and gets splits equally between the two wheels

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when the vehicle cruises on a straight road. When the vehicle turns around the corner, (say on the right) then the wheels on the right get less power compared to the outer wheels. This power distribution is monitored by the differential. It consists of a set of gears to accomplish this job. If there were no differentials in your car, then both the wheels should be locked together and then made to turn like a single unit. This would enable the need of a greater power, further in concrete roads, this becomes increasingly difficult. One of the more terms commonly we across is traction- tractive effort and tractive force. The effort that the wheels put forth to move or propel the vehicle forward is known as the tractive effort. Differential and traction go hand in hand. The more power a differential gives to a particular wheel , the more traction it obtains. In 4-wheel drive vehicles two differential units are present. Some vehicles have no differential unit, or so they say. But this a misnomer. You do have a viscous coupling, which works on a different principle but does the same work as that of your differential. This is an improved version of differential. In all wheel drive vehi-

cles, a centre differential is found in the transfer case. Another term commonly used is LSD- limited slip differential- which as the name implies, prevents the wheels from excess of slipping. With advancements in automobile engineering, nowadays eLSD or electronic limited slip differentials are also used. In this a control unit monitors the working of it. The differential consists of sun gear and planet gears. However it is intresting to note that, the friction present in the gears of the determines the transmission of power. Hence if one wheel of the vehicle gets on a slippery surface or if one wheel is lifted off the ground while turning at high speed (as in racing cars) more power is transmitted to the wheel which is in a tight grip with the road. Thus friction is desired in differential units and hence sometimes friction plates are introduced (like that of a clutch plate). And hence differentials get the name as LSD or non-slip differential. So hence the ‘turning’ of the car occurs. The next time you bend down the end, thank the differential for its existence!!

By Swathi I

Are you a new reader? Catch the earlier Deeply Dismantled articles: The IC Engine in CARMA i3 The automobile gearbox in CARMA i4 The automotive clutch syster in CARMA i5 www.autocarma.in

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Evolution and Revolution The men of the past, who burned firewood to keep themselves warm and hunted animals to fill their stomachs, couldn’t have developed without the ‘automobile’. The concept was simple. They lacked the capacity to run hundred kilometres a day or to carry hundred kilograms on their back. So they needed a machine that would do it for them. And voila! The automobile was born…. Back then it was a necessity. But then contentiousness is something that one can never associate with the human race. The automobiles needed development, and technology was the key. The new cars, the next generation ones, were faster and they could carry more load. Even then, the technology was focussed on man’s necessity more than his luxury. But in modern times, necessity is met in every model of automobile that you see. All cars are capable of travelling at speeds much higher than what an average driver would consider to be customary. Despite having reached the pinnacle of providing man’s commuting necessities, the automobile sector continues to develop. But this time, development and tech-

nology are targeted towards luxury and comfort. Comfort is something that mankind will never cease to embrace. So whether it’s making sure that the seat is soft enough to make your bottom feel relaxed or ensuring that the seat is rightly angled so that your back doesn’t become stiff after a couple of long rides, technology has all of it covered – the design of your steering wheel and brake-accelerator, the design of your automatic hand gear – they are all focussed on giving you the best and most fun-filled ride. While the matter of luxury is taken so seriously that it is given foremost priority by customers when they buy cars, the manufacturers are not to be left behind. They can thrive in a rich market only by providing the customer’s needs – in this case, a comfortable car to drive. That obviously becomes the most important aspect of their design. With all the talk about comfort and luxury, let’s not forget another issue which is considered seriously by both the manufacturer and the customer – safety.

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CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED While everyone likes the idea of having a smooth ride, nobody likes the idea of having the smooth ride smothered to bits due to the slightest of errors. Error is human. But humans hate to pay for their errors. The benchmark now changes for the designer – he has to make the safest as well as most confortable car. Every man has a ‘dream car’ - something that he fancies himself driving. Ideally it would be the car in the market which has the best features in terms of style, performance, comfort and safety. But just like how all dreams must end, all ‘dream cars’ also have an end. No matter how big you dream of your car, technology will always overpower you. What seems difficult today seems easy tomorrow and what seems impossible today will be made possible tomorrow. Technology is just as such. I am sure you have a dream car. Twenty years later, this car will become a ‘laughing stalk’ and thirty years later, you might never find this car in the market. Such is the rate at which unbelievable advancements in automobile engineering are

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

being made. Even though you may be forced to think that you have reached the pinnacle of technology, automobile engineers will surprise you with something bigger and better. It’s their job and they do it well. As I sit in my car, I wonder what else can be done on a drastic level that will make my car so much better than what it is now. Will engineers think on lines of improving the comfort levels of the car? Or have we reached the tip of the mountain in terms of luxury and comfort? Will the car manufacturers still focus on performance, comfort and safety? Or will there be some new parameter that discriminates the manufactured cars to such an extent that every engineering strives to find solutions to improving the car along the lines of the new parameter? What does the automobile industry hold for us in the future? It is certainly interesting to consider our options now. But the truth will not be known anytime soon Some things can be ascertained by time only.

Nitin D. Ramnath for Pulse72+

Pulse72+ is an electronic magazine and portal which voices the ideas of the youth. Pulse 72+ is CARMA’s youth partner.

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APRILMay Volume 1 Issue CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED 20122012 Volume 1 Issue 5 6

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

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Reader’s Corner Article by Promit Choudhury

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

2011 Hennessey Venom GT

Hold

on tight to the sport steering wheel as the available 1,000 bhp twin-turbo power plant will generate an estimated 0-to-60 mph time of 2.7 seconds. Should you choose the available 1,200 bhp twin-turbocharged engine, you will have the esteemed privilege to use the entire range of the speedometer. Combined with a super-light curb weight of under 2,685 lbs (1,220 kilos), the Venom GT offers an unmatched power-to-weight ratio. F1 meets road car. To maximize the powerto-weight ratio, the Venom GT utilizes some of the most high-tech racing components available today. This includes the use of carbon fibre body panels and hybrid wheels constructed of both carbon fibre and forgedaluminium. Massive Brembo 6-piston al¬loy brake calipers combine with lightweight carbon-ceramic rotors to give the Venom GT world-class stopping power while simultaneously minimizing curb weight and rotational mass.

charged LS9 V-8 engine producing 725 bhp at 7,200 rpm. An available twin-turbocharged V-8 (shown) offers the ultimate power trip delivering up to 1,200 bhp.

Weight is kept to a minimum thanks to the extensive use of aluminium for the con¬struction of items such as the engine block, cylinder heads and intercoolers. Airflow ducting is a mix of lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium components. Exhaust gas¬ses flow through a lightweight Titanium exhaust system. Twin ball bearing turboThe Venom GT simply expresses the supercar chargers provide instant throttle response that I have always dreamed of building for with a never ending mountain of power. myself. I wanted a nimble, lightweight, midengine chassis with a powerful Ameri¬can Inside, the Venom GT merges high-tech V-8 engine. Maximum power-to-weight ratio materials with supple luxury. Machined metal is critical for a performance vehicle, and it is meets carbon fibre—all surrounded by sumpthe cornerstone to our car. tuous leather—to produce an unforget¬table cockpit. Powering the Venom GT is a 6.2L super-

Want to get published in CARMA? Send in your articles directly to editor@autocarma.in www.autocarma.in

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APRIL 2012 Volume 1 Issue 5

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

The Audi A4 Facelift. Audi-liciously Delicious. If anyone asks me what my favorite car is, I would definitely say Audi A4! The well-known German luxury car maker revealed its new Audi A4 sedan on 3rd may 2012. This facelift version of the A4 not only includes design changes in the exterior and interior but also

offers new engines. Audi A4 has been Audi’s bestselling car for last 39 years and now, the 2012 Audi A4 is actually the 8th generation car. Since 1972, the company has managed to sell more than 10 million A4’s, which is an impressive milestone for the company.

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Engine and performance The new A4 has won a lot of accolades from the Indian auto industry, a major reason for it being the new engine options. The new A4 has 3 engine options; two diesels and a petrol. Taking into consideration the ever rising petrol prices and the high demand for diesel cars nowadays, Audi have made a potentially game winning move by unveiling its 2012 Audi A4 in two diesel variants. The petrol version of the new Audi A4 comes with a 1.8 liter TFSI (Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection) engine which produces 170HP and a maximum torque of 250 Nm at 1400 to 3700 rpm. This engine is estimated to give a mileage of 15.67 kmpl which ensures that it won’t require high maintenance as one expects. The diesel version of 2012 Audi A4 comprises of two engine options, 2.0 TDI and 3.0 TDI. The 2.0 liter TDI engine produces maximum power of 143HP and a maximum torque of 320 Nm at 1750 to 2500 rpm. This engine is estimated to give a mileage of 16.7 kmpl. The 3.0 litre TDI engine is also quite powerful producing 245HP and a maximum torque of 500 Nm at 1400 to 3250 rpm. Audi A4 1.8 TFSI can go from 0-100 kmph in a mere 8.3 seconds and can reach a top speed of 225 kmph. On the other hand, the 3.0 diesel does the same in merely 5.9 seconds. It can achieve a top speed of 250 kmph. Lastly 2.0 TDI goes from 0-100 kmph in 9.1 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 210 kmph.

By Shreyas Hande

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

India will be getting a right side steering kit. Not to worry! Design and interiors Audi A4’s interior has always been impressive. The ergonomic placement of controls and its high level of fit and finish show its level of sophistication. The car’s electronics are placed at the center. All other controls have been designed and placed so as to live up to its standards. The interior cabin of the sedan comprises of high quality leather upholstery. The ambient lighting provided within the cabin gives a luxurious feeling. The Audi A4 interior contains a dual zone climate control. It also has a powerful stereo system. A driver-tilted LCD is situated on the top of the trendy instrument panel, which gets a sleek and stylish wooden trim. The Audi A4 interiors provide superior road handling and driving comfort. he latest model of the car comes with a unique Drive Select technology, which enables the driver to choose from “Comfort” and “Dynamic” drive modes, by operating buttons lo-

cated on the instrument panel. The seats are firm, comfortable and spacious, which makes long drives a pleasurable experience. The boot space offered by this A4 is a little less compared to its competitors. The legroom is ample though the center console might annoy some drivers because it does impose on knee space. Headroom is ample, but the sunroof occupies quite a large space. The new Audi A4 has a very inspiring and wonderful infotainment system. To make the ride entertaining and relaxing, the 2012 Audi A4 comes with a DVD player, a colored monitor, concert radio and eight speakers, which provide high quality sound output. Furthermore, the sedan also comes with MMI system that has voice dialogue facility. This time, Audi is offering Audi Car Life product with 2012 Audi A4. Driver Information System as well as Audi Music Interface has been added in the new car. The three spoke steering wheel adds a sense of simplicity to the car.

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Exterior and other specs The 2012 Audi A4 has ability to take your breath away with a single glance. The LED running lamps have been refurbished and the bumper has been re-styled. The grille in the front is broad and extremely prominent, which proudly holds Audi’s signature four rings. The fog lamps on the front have a trapezoidal shape that enhances the car’s appearance. The curved headlamp cluster adds to it with reworked LED lamps. The LED units are sharper and go all the way down to the back. The body colored handles with body colored external mirrors adds to its appeal. At the rear end, the 2012 Audi A4 has restyled tail lights, which are elongated in a focused way, while the Audi rings are positioned in the middle of the rear bumper. The huge panoramic sun roof is another major highlight along with long wheelbase that makes the car look like more of a salon. The price has certainly gone up a bit because of such high class exteriors, but the looks of the 2012 Audi A4 are totally worth it. The fuel tank has a capacity of 61 liters.

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

The braking and suspension system of 2012 Audi A4 is very impressive indeed. All the variants of the 2012 Audi A4 come with five link front suspensions that are accompanied by upper and lower wishbones and a tubular anti-roll bar. The braking system installed in the 2012 Audi A4 comprises of a dual circuit brake system with diagonal split. The front has ventilated disks while the rear has solid disks brakes, both accompanied by tandem brake booster, Anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution system, electronic stability program and brake assist. The handling of 2012 Audi A4 is super smooth and one of the main reasons behind it is the electromechanical steering. The 2012 Audi A4 has a lot of safety features, which not only keep the passengers guarded but also, in case of any accident or collision, less harm is caused to the body of the sedan. The car has central and remote locking system and ABS that provides complete control of the car while driving. The traction control and ESP accompanied by dual front airbags with side and curtain airbags make sure that the passengers are safe in case of any accident.

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The traction control and ESP accompanied by dual front airbags with side and curtain airbags make sure that the passengers are safe in case of any accident. The look and design of 2012 Audi A4 is further enhanced by the alloy wheels. The 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TDI powered Audi A4 versions feature 7J x 16 inch cast aluminum alloy wheels with 225/55 tires. On the other hand, the executive variant, which has 3.0 TDI diesel engine sports 7.5 J x 16 lightweight forged aluminum wheels with 225/55 R16 tires.

Variants A lot of color options are available with all the variants, like Moonlight Blue Metallic, Brilliant Red, Teak Brown Metallic, Phantom Black, Pearl Effect, Ibis White and Ice Silver

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Metallic. 2012 Audi A4 Price (ex-showroom, Maharashtra) Audi A4 1.8 TFSI – Rs. 27.33 lakhs Audi A4 2.0 TDI – Rs. 29.38 lakhs Audi A4 3.0 TDI Quattro – Rs. 38 lakhs

Final say The facelift 2012 Audi A4 is definitely a heart-winner and it has the capacity to overtake the BMW 3 series in terms of sales and popularity. During a recent visit to Chennai, I saw a lot of BMWs around but with the release of the cheapest and most fuel efficient Audi, that scenario might change in the near future.

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CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

SHOPSTER! Yet another service from the CARMA house. CARMA Shopster. Starting soon!

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CARMA TIPS

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Petrol vs Diesel

Should you buy a diesel car or a petrol car? A diesel car is the more economical choice – but only if you drive a lot. It should be a no-brainer really. Take a look at the retail prices at the petrol pump and it’s clear that there’s now 58% difference in prices between petrol and diesel. If you look at retail prices in Chennai for instance, normal diesel costs Rs. 43.95 per litre, while regular unleaded petrol costs Rs. 75.4 a litre. That’s a big difference! So what’s the catch? So technically, it does look like it makes more sense to buy a diesel car when you look at the fuel price savings. But diesel cars are also more expensive to buy initially. So the question really is, how much time does it take to make up for that additional investment you make when you buy a car? Let’s take a look at the petrol and diesel variants of the Maruti Swift for example, to compare how running costs stack up, and in what time would the initial extra investment in a diesel car be made up as compared to a petrol car. We take the Swift petrol and diesel for our calculations here. Actual figures would change for other cars. Also, we have used official mileage figures here – not actual mileage. But the general principle works for any car!

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Maruti Suzuki Swift Diesel vs Petrol Comparisons Type Ex-Showroom Price Fuel Economy Fuel type Fuel cost/litre Cost of driving 50 km / day Cost of driving 100 km / day Cost of driving 1,000 km / month Cost of driving 2,500 km / month Driving cost per year @ 1,000 km per month Driving cost per year @ 2,500 km per month

Diesel Rs. 598,436 21 kmpl (approx)

Petrol Rs. 485,861 16 kmpl (approx)

Swift VDI Diesel Rs. 43.95 Rs. 105.48

Swift VXI Petrol Rs. 75.4 Rs. 208.10

Diesel fuel savings Rs. 102.62 per day

Rs. 209.20

Rs. 416.20

Rs. 207 per day

Rs. 2,092.45

Rs. 4,165.09

Rs. 5,231.80

Rs. 10,412.74

Rs. 25,109.40

Rs. 49,990.80

Rs. 2,072.89 per month Rs. 5,180.20 per month Rs. 24,881.40 per year

Rs. 62,781.60

Rs. 1,24,952.90

Rs. 62,201.30 per year

If you drive 1000 km per month, you save Rs. 24,881.40 in one year in fuel cost. So to recover the extra cost of a diesel Swift, it will take you around 4.5 years. If you drive 2500 km per month, you save Rs 62,201.30 in one year in fuel cost. To recover your investment, you would take a bit more than 1.5 years! But, let’s now get down to the economics. Driving a diesel Swift for 1,000 km a month will theoretically save you Rs. 2,072.89 per month, giving you an annual fuel bill savings of Rs. 24,881.40. The initial cost outlay for a diesel Swift is about Rs. 1,10,000 more than its petrol counterpart. At this rate of driving it will take you about 4.5 years to make up the extra initial investment in a diesel Swift, compared to buying a petrol Swift. This means an average of 45 km of daily driving – this is probably what the commute for most of us looks like. But the savings increase multiple times if you drive longer distances to work. Say you drive about 2,500 km a month then the savings on your fuel bill go up to Rs. 5,180.20 per month, working out to an annual saving of Rs. 62,201.30 by driving the diesel Swift. In two years time, you would have more than made up the difference in initial cost, and then save a lot more in running costs over your ownership period.

By Sunil Rao

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CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

A preview of the Hyundai i20 Fluidic How would you know if a car is cool? By reading mags ? Expert columns? By performing tests? Well, nothing would tell you for sure. Except kids. If your 8 year old nephew thinks a car is cool- you can take it for granted that it is really cool. One such car that your nephew would definitely term ‘coooolll’ is the Hyundai I20. Recently launched was the I gen i20 a.k.a i20 fluidic. Well, what exactly is the difference between the two? Firstly, the exteriors are better than that of the previous one. It is obvious that the design is borrowed from the i3. The new head and tail lamps, the spoiler and the shining front grill are worth mentioning. Interiors are illuminated with gleaming blue LEDs - ones that would catch your eye when caught in a traffic signal and you keep checking out the interiors of the cars around you. Leather

& chrome finish gear knob, Clutch footrest, Coat hook, Luggage hook, etc. are guaranteed to keep you hooked. The intelligence features such as the headlight that adjusts itself proportionately to the outside conditions and the clutch lock feature that prevents accidental start of the car deserve heaps of praise. Under the hood is the 1.2-litre VTVT Kappa engine that shells out 84 PS of maximum power at 5200 rpm and 11.4 kgm of peak torque at 4000 rpm. The engine is married to a 5-speed manual transmission. An automatic variant with four speed auto transmission is also available which has the same engine used earlier that churns max power of 100 Ps at 5500 rpm and 13.9 kgm of peak torque at 4200 rpm.

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

The interiors have been made fluidic as well! Mated with 6-speed manual transmission, the 1.4 litre diesel engine produces top power of 90 Ps at 4000 rpm and terrific torque of 22.4 kgm at 1750-2750 rpm. The sprint from 0 to 100kmph is 15.4 s, 15.2 s and 13.4 s respectively for the Auto, Kappa and the diesel versions. The i20 is the only car in the segment to possess 6 air bags. Rear Parking Camera, Fully Automatic Temperature Control, Clean Air-Cluster ionizer for fresh air, Supervision Cluster, Smart Key with Push button feature, Steering Mounted Audio and Bluetooth controls, Tilt & telescopic steering, Multi Information Display, 2-DIN CD/MP3 Audio

System with 4 speakers and 2 tweeters, USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity are some of the features that are worth mentioning. Rear disc brakes are not standard on all variants. One touch triple turn signal a much hyped safety feature was already present in 2010 Ford Figo. Overall, the new i20 is same old wine in new bottle. But in a pretty good looking bottle. Men love their cars and prefer choices to be simple. Yes. They may not differentiate baby pink from light pink but they sure as hell can tell an i20 fluidic from it’s older one. Hyundai has made the easy thing easier- By making telling changes to the newer one, majority being positive ones.

By

Satyajith .S www.autocarma.in www.autocarma.in

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CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED APRILMay Volume 1 Issue 20122012 Volume 1 Issue 5 6

Honda CBR 150R The Youngest sibling in the CBR family India is a country where small is big. And Honda has finally come in terms with this Indian ideology. From the past, small capacities have ruled the market in the bike industry only till the past few years which changed the Indian biking community. The launch and success of the Yamaha R15 in 2008 was the radical change which showed that India has matured in terms of styling and performance. And finally Honda has come up with the Honda CBR150R to go head-on with the Reigning R15.What makes this different offering and has Honda made a masterpiece after all? Let’s check it out.

the headlight cluster, the fat and short exhaust and the new graphics makes the bike attract a lot of eyes...The only let-down in the bike is the quality of parts used. The parts have been taken from the other low end Honda commuter bikes. So on the long run, they may give some problem due to the not up-to-the-mark finish. Otherwise the bike looks gorgeous in terms of overall styling.

Posture and Ergonomics

The CBR150R offers one of the most comfortable seating positions in all the 1-lakh plus bikes in the offering. The handlebar length and positioning, seat and foot pegs geometry alDesign and Styling lows both a tall or short rider to ride it effortIn design terms, this looks like the twin broth- lessly. Whether in the city or the highway, one er of the CBR250R.it looks subtle and has a feels “to know the unknown”…as its tagline sports-tourer styling point. The black effect to says. Honda has proved its mettle in this segment. www.autocarma.in

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Engine and Performance

What Honda has really impressed me is that This is what matters finally when it comes to this one the most refined engines in Indian such bikes. The new CBR150R is powered by Market. Even at higher RPM, the silky smooth a single cylinder DOHC (Double Over Head engine has any high frequency vibrations. Camshaft) engine with advanced PGM-FI (Fuel injection System) which gives it enough Body Structure performance to be the best in its class. The CBR makes 17.8 Ps and 12.66 Nm. The The new CBR has the Deltabox or Twin Spar downside though is the low torque with such Frame similar to the R15.The bike handles an advanced engine. The power output at what very well in tight corners and there is very less RPM makes all the difference from other bikes under steer. The bike feels like a rock and builds in its class. The short stroke engine pumps out your confidence through the tight bends.The maximum power at 10,500 RPM. Maximum CBR has a shorter Wheelbase is quick around Torque comes in at 8,500 RPM. The powerful the corners engine pushes the CBR from 0-100 km/h in 13.62 secs.

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CARMA CARMA| |CARS CARSUNLIMITED UNLIMITED APRIL 2012 May 2012 Volume Volume 1 Issue 1 Issue 5 6

ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS

DIMENSIONS

Displacement: 149.4cc

Length:

2000.00 mm

Width:

825.00 mm

Height:

1120.00 mm

Engine:

149.4cc, 4-stroke

Maximum Power: 17.58 Bhp @ 10500 rpm Maximum Torque: 12.66 Nm @ 8500 rpm Gears:

6 Manual

Clutch:

Wet Multi Plate

Weight:

138.00 kg

Ground Clearance: 190.00 mm

No. of Cylinders: 1 Valve Per Cylinder:

OTHER SPECIFICATIONS

4

Chassis Type:

Twin Tube Diamond

Cooling Type:

Liquid Cooling

Fuel Tank: 13.00 liters Wheelbase: 1305.00 mm

By Nikhil Rajagopalan

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

The KTM Duke 200 Although predominantly a KTM, some may spot many elements of Bajaj in the 200 Duke- a muscular, aggressive and striking bike. The front mudguard is short and sporty; the instruments are compact; and to top it off, riding at night is secure thanks to a bright headlight. The massive tank region is deeply grooved for good thigh grip. Although, tall riders could find their knees feeling a shade cramped if you like sitting deep into your bike, hugging the tank. There’s ample space for the rider and the front seat is well padded. As in several sports bikes, the pillion seat is seldom going to be your position of choice. Good overall quality and acceptable fitfinish are present in the KTM 200 Duke. There’s no shortage of high tech features on the 200 Duke’s alloy cased, dohc, button-started engine. This is a 199.5cc, four-stroke, fuel-injected powerplant with liquid-cooling, four-valves and a close ratio six-speed gearbox. It’s really smooth everywhere in the powerband. A powerful engine for its class, the 200 Duke achieves 25bhp at 10000rpm.

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CARMA CARMA| |CARS CARSUNLIMITED UNLIMITED APRIL 2012 May 2012 Volume Volume 1 Issue 1 Issue 5 6

On the go, the KTM 200 Duke exhaust sounds delightful; really sporty and healthy for a single. Although throttle response higher up in the powerband is crisp, fuelling does feel slightly unsettling in a narrow band between just past idle up to 3000rpm. Once past this hurdle, the 200 Duke engine feels pretty much flawless; power is built post the 4500rpm mark, and the vehicle surges strongly and smoothly into the meat of its powerband over 7000rpm in every gear. The clutch feels perfectly balanced and works with positive action and just enough progression. This is clearly an engine tuned for city riding.

The wide handlebars supported by superior leverage make manoeuvring the Duke through crowded city traffic simple. The 200 Duke comes with a firm ride quality that helps keep the bike planted when slicing up corners. It flicks quickly from upright and safe to well beyond dicey lean angles, at which point you start to appreciate its low-profile, MRF radial front and rear tyres. Although the aggressively rounded rear with its limited contact patch does sometimes slip a wee bit when pushing over the limit, overall grip levels feels good.

All said and done, the 200 Duke still gets our vote for honestly trying so hard to be amongst The new KTM uses impressive chassis parts - a steel fabricated trellis frame with fat upside-down the easier-to-handle motorcycles to pick up in front forks. Behind, you sit on a linkage free India today. Fast and furious it may be, but the mono-shock and there’s even an alloy swing-arm. KTM-200 Duke somehow isn’t too unfair in the economy stakes either. The Indo-European KTM The treats don’t end here - The bike is supplied 200 Duke returned 35.7kpl during its city fuel with ByBre disc brakes at both ends fed by steel tests. braided hydraulic lines. www.autocarma.in

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APRIL May 2012 2012Volume Volume11Issue Issue65

Despite its flaws, the 200 Duke is amongst the very Displacement : 200cc

best sporty 200cc street-bikes in India, thanks to Maximum Power : 22 Bhp Bajaj and KTM’s generous, no-compromise-onspecifications approach. SPECIFICATIONS

Maximum Torque : 19.2 Nm Cylinder Bore : 72 mm

Stoke : 49 mm

Starting : Electric starter

Wheel Base : 1,361±15 mm

Engine Type : Single-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ig- Wheel Type : Alloys nition engine, liquid-cooled

By Sunil Rao www.autocarma.in

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CARMA| |CARS CARSUNLIMITED UNLIMITED APRIL 2012 May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6 CARMA Volume 1 Issue 5

Mercedes-Benz Star Drive first. As soon as you strap on your seatbelt, it automatically tightens itself around you. By doing this, your movement is restricted during a crash and as a result you’re protected from hitting the steering column or the dashboard of the car. The next Pre-Safe feature deals with sensors placed in the car which monitor the driver movement and they detect any erratic inputs from the driver of the car. This happens when the driver tends to fall asleep at the wheel and the car warns you to stop. A very The event was neatly organized into segments. intelligent and novel feature from MB. The first was the Driver Briefing where we were shown first hand how Mercs were incor- Pre-Safe also includes the various technolporated with intelligent features. The widely ogy featured in the car such as ABS, TCS and respected Pre-Safe was the highlight of this EBD. In a normal car under hard braking, the briefing. Pre-Safe is the name given by Mer- vehicle tends to shift its direction by moving cedes Benz to a wide array of features their towards the left or the right. This is called as cars come with, all aiming to avoid an accident Squirming of the wheels. It can be very disor protect you from it to the maximum pos- cerning at high speed braking. sible extent. Pre-Safe starts with the seatbelt Mercedes Benz India organized their Star Drive Experience recently and it was an event held all over India. This is an annual event and we were invited for the Chennai round of the event held at the Madras Motor Sports Track (MMST) at Sriperumbudur. This is an event which showcases the highlight of Mercedes vehicles. It also aimed to demonstrate to the existing customers what their Mercs were capable of.

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May2012 2012Volume Volume11Issue Issue56 APRIL

By Anjan Ravi However, in the Merc, no matter how hard the braking, the car continues to be stable and we found this very impressive. In the event where you need to change the direction of the car under hard braking, ABS is a must. However, in our normal cars, there are times where we have experienced a time delay in the ABS kicking in. In fact a week before the Merc Star Drive, I was involved in a serious accident while driving a Nissan Micra. Though the car I drove was the top end XV Premium model, there was no ABS in the car. As a result, I could only wait and watch as I saw the car crash even though my foot was planted on the brakes and I made every effort to turn the steering. Those diagrams which are shown in marketing brochures depicting how a car brakes with and without ABS is actually true. Also changing the direction of the car at high speeds depends on how well the car is balanced as well. Our

professional Mercedes driver demonstrated this for us by braking the car heavily through a few cones. The car turned in perfectly without hitting any of the cones and came to a stop without much drama. I was very impressed with this particular act and in the current state in which our highways are, I feel that the Merc could be the safest brand one can drive. Pre-Safe goes a bit beyond as well. While under panic braking, if your windows are rolled down, the windows automatically raise themselves up to a level leaving a small gap. There is a good explanation for this. The windows roll up so that foreign material from the crash does not enter the cabin. It leaves a small gap because in the event of deploying airbags, there is a pressure rise in the cabin. To get rid of the excess pressure, a small gap is left. The inclination in my head to own a three pointed star just grew a bit more!

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CARMA| |CARS CARSUNLIMITED UNLIMITED APRIL 2012 May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6 CARMA Volume 1 Issue 5 We got to experience the above Pre-Safe features on the track. There was a C-Class, E-Class and a C63 AMG at our disposal. Naturally, we went for the AMG! I was more impressed with the fact that after an entire day of tires screeching and hard braking, there was no wear in the braking effect of the car. It was like they were brand new! The next segment of the event was the SUV demonstration. This segment aimed to highlight the offroad capability of the GL and M Class. MB had set up a mini course for us, and these, simulated conditions where the axles of the vehicles would be put to their test. They also demonstrated how the Hill Assist and differential lock worked. We took the GL Class and first up on the course was a steep side bank. The GL effortlessly climbed the bank and stayed there sideways like as though it was a flat piece of road. Getting the car out of the bank meant putting one of the front wheels in the air. Once again, the GL was very impressive and performed the task with aplomb. The axle twister track lay ahead and compared to the side bank, it was a piece of cake. It was here that we witnessed how the differential locks worked and with just a push of a button the GL devoured the course! Do keep in mind that you should not try turning the car when the differential is locked. Once this was done, it was time to put the GL through a steep climb and descend. This test also demonstrates how important some specs such as approach and departure angles and ramp breakover really are. While climbing, the GL was stopped midway to demonstrate the Hill Assist feature. With this feature turned ON, the car does not slide behind while trying to move forward. Though I doubt anyone is going to take their GL up a mountain, this feature could come in handy while going up our steep underground car parks! Once at the top, the Hill Descend feature was activated. With this, you just need to set a speed anywhere between 4km/h and 14km/h and the car automatically goes down at the set speed braking automatically. We could literally see how the brake pedal automatically depressed and released itself in small intervals. www.autocarma.in

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CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

The ABS sensor is used for all these features to detect wheel slip and selectively apply the brake to that particular wheel. We definitely had a new found respect for the GL and the M after completing this course. The next segment was actually a slalom contest. MB had laid out a slalom course for us and we were required to post a time going through the slalom, taking a U-Turn and coming back through the slalom once again. Points would be lost for hitting the cones. As it turned out, we posted the fastest times with the help of a Merc E-Class Diesel! No, we were not allowed to use the C63 AMG! The E-Class demonstrated good body control while going through the cones at a high speed. Overall, we developed new respect for all the Mercs and that urge to someday own a Mercedes Benz just grew deeper! We hope MB India continues to make this a ritual every year

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May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6

Mercedes 300 SL

cedes used fuel injection which saw a 40 HP increase than the carburetor version. The first batch of SL’s suffered from their drum brakes and swing axle setups. Although these were revised on later editions. For some clients a lightweight version was prepared with an aluminum body and aluminum castings, but these were seldom raced. Instead, Mercedes prepared the 300 SLR, which used a much lower and chassis similar to the W196. The 300 SL, weighing around 1.4 tonnes had a 4 speed manual gearbox and could do a top speed of about 160 km an hour. This beautiful thing, being around 4.5 m long, 1.8 m Wide and 1.33 m tall consumed fuel like about approximately 17 l for 100 km. Well, as a policy The “300” referred to the engine’s three litre we have agreed to furnish mileage details of cylinder displacement while “SL” stood for every car. Heard petrol prices are up. “Sport Leicht” (Sport Light). Our Last issue saw the Ferrari 250 GTO, a homologation product. This issue, it is the Mercedes. We at Carma believe in giving equal opportunities to all countries. So Germany was the obvious choice, after Italy. The car that we are looking into is the Merc 300 SL. It was, undisputedly one of the most beautiful coupes in the fifties. The gull wing doors were a cool feature that the 300 SL packed. Alright now I’d like to save you the time which you’d waste searching for gull wing doors. Remember the antagonist Ramya Krishnan’s car in the Rajnikanth movie, Padaiyappa? Eureka! Gull wing doors. For those who have not watched it. Waste time. You deserve it.

The 300 SL was the first car for which Mer-


CARMA | CARS UNLIMITED

May 2012 Volume 1 Issue 6



Carma Issue 6