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February 2010 Volume 12 Issue 06 Rs 100

VolksWagen polo cup tata aria maruti rIII Toyota Etios honda new small concept

!! WFION RD our

vge 184 eapa ETNuD rn to



BMW 520d vs 320d Four generations of Yamaha R6 Pulsar 135LS vs Stunner & FZ16 Hayabusa vs Fireblade vs CB1000R

BMW X1 BMW 5 Series GT BMW X6M Jaguar XJ Mercedes GL350 Mercedes S500L Renault Fluence Renault Koleos Skoda Yeti Toyota Prius VW Phaeton

honouring the best


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February 2010 Volume 12 Issue 06 Rs 100

CNBC-T V18 Overdr i ve A W A RD S 2 0 1 0


Tata Nano FREE 12-page Mahindra Xylo supplement FREE 12-page Skoda Laura supplement

Bike of the year

UV of the year

SUV of the year

Kawasaki Ninja 250R

Mahindra Xylo

Toyota Fortuner

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motoringnews L o g o n t o w w w. ov e r d r i v e . i n / n e ws/

VW Jetta ups style ante Detroit Motor Show concept previews the next-gen Jetta

Mk-VI Golf-based Jetta set for mid-2010 launch; expect new dynamic, quality and desirability benchmarks


his is the face of the new Jetta and it looks utterly gorgeous! The picture you see above is of VW’s American concept car dubbed the New Concept Coupe but what’s significant is the front end is exactly what the next Jetta will look like. The US is a big market for the Jetta which explains why VW chose Detroit to unveil the NCC but what will interest Indian D-segment buyers is that the new Jetta is definitely slated for production, in India, later this year. Explains whyVW India has let the current Jetta soldier on with old engines while Laura gets cutting-edge power plants. The NCC, or let’s say the next Jetta, adopts VW’s new design language which debuted on the Scirocco and is now seen on the Golf and Polo. While it is more aggressive there’s also a beautifully executed

minimalism; a few crisp lines and sharp creases giving the car a strong dynamic character missing on the current Jetta. Don’t be fooled by the two-door coupe roofline, the production Jetta will be a conventional four-door. The Jetta’s platform is based on the new Golf which has come in for very high praise for its perfectly judged ride and handling balance. It is a class leading act in Europe and expect the Jetta to set similarly high benchmarks when it comes to India. With a longer wheelbase it will have more generous interior room while the interiors, borrowed from the Golf, are handsome and reek of high quality materials and fittings. Expect the Indian cars to roll out of Aurangabad by mid-2010 with a 1.8-TSI petrol, 2.0-TDI common-rail diesel and a DSG twin-clutch gearbox.

FEB 2010


Logon to

Motoring News Ford hasn’t had a presence in the D-segment since the Mondeo many years ago. The new Focus, set to be assembled in India in 2012, should correct matters

Focused plan Ford’s new world car, the Focus is India bound in 2012 THE RECESSION HAS BEEN TOUGH BUT Ford stands tall amongst the wreckage that was the Detroit big three. And while its American rivals struggle to come out of the mess Ford has put in place a major model offensive to see it not just dominating American markets but raking in volumes world over and moving up the leader board (last year Ford was bumped down from fourth to fifth position by Hyundai). And it starts with the Focus. The Focus name plate isn’t new to either Europe or America. However the cars sold on either side of the Atlantic were completely different. Now, in line with the

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One Ford strategy, the new mid-size architecture (developed in Germany) will underpin cars sold in different parts of the globe but all these cars will look, feel and drive the same. Ford’s research from America to China, Russia and Europe show customers favoured the same kinetic design language which has prompted Ford to do away with regional product differences and have one world car for major global markets. Over the next two years this platform will underpin 10 distinct models to be sold all over the world and total sales volume of the platform is expected to be two million units by 2012, almost double of what it is

currently. The stated aim is to have 80 per cent commonality among the cars sold anywhere in the world with the same suspension hardware and only local changes, mainly in wheel and tyre specifications, to suit road conditions and dynamic requirements. The new Focus takes Ford’s kinetic design language to the next level. The kinetic design approach uses bold designs to capture the feeling of energy in motion, so that cars look like they are moving even are standing still, and the Focus definitely looks the part. It is low, swooping and sleek and the gaping airdam flanked by snarling

The busy cabin looks futuristic and is driver focused with a sporty intent

Sharp lines, sharper angles and clean surfaces define the next generation of Ford’s kinetic design nostrils lends great aggression. J Mays, Ford group vice president of design says, “It’s tailored for each individual region. Focus combines the best from Europe, North America and Asia to deliver a level of emotional driving enjoyment never before experienced in a car this size.” The interiors are sporty and driver focused with lots of chunky detailing with Ford stressing on very high levels of craftsmanship. Ford prides itself on the handling of its cars and the Focus will aim to establish its supremacy on this front. It will have Dynamic Cornering Control which is a torque vectoring system that transfers

power between the drive wheels to reduce understeer and improve traction, stability, agility and turn-in. Ford’s Control Blade independent rear suspension has been

Ford aims for the Focus to be the best-selling name plate in the world, outselling the Toyota Corolla, with plans to sell it in 122 countries worldwide updated and there’s a new electronic power steering set-up. In Europe the Focus will get a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol and 2.0-litre diesel while American cars will get a

direct-injection 2.0-litre petrol. Safe to say India will get the Euro-spec engines which offer very good fuel economy. All engines are mated to a new 6-speed twin-clutch gearbox. Ambitious targets envisage the Focus becoming the best-selling name plate in the world, outselling even the Toyota Corolla, and the name plate will be seen in 122 countries worldwide. Production of the five-door hatchback and four-door saloon is due to start in early 2011, simultaneously, in Germany, US and China. Russia and Spain will follow and by 2012 other production sites, including India, are in the pipeline. FEB 2010


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motorcyclenews L o g o n t o w w w. ov e r d r i v e . i n / n e w s

Eric Vas, president, new projects, Bajaj Auto receiving the award from Raghupati Singhania, vice chairman & MD, JK Tyre & Industries

Ninja is Indian Motorcycle Of The Year India’s best automotive magazines vote the Ninja 250R to the top


he most desirable motorcycle launched this year, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R has won the Indian Motorcycle Of The Year (IMOTY) 2010 award. The IMOTY is one of the most respected of Indian automotive awards given jointly by a jury composed of senior journalists from all of India’s best magazines. The Ninja 250R beat the Bajaj Discover DTSi, the TVS Apache RTR 180, the Suzuki GS150R and the Bullet Classic 500. The jury

consisted of Aspi Bhathena and Bunny Punia of Bike India, Girish Karkera and Debabrata Sarkar of Topgear India, Vikrant Singh of Auto Bild while Auto India was part of the panel but could not be in the jury this year. OVERDRIVE was represented by Bertrand D’souza and Shubhabrata Marmar. The award was presented at a JK Tyre sponsored function in Delhi which saw all senior industry people in the audience. The Ninja won thanks to its combination of

performance and ability. It also bridges the huge gap between premium Indian motorcycles the the expensive CBU imports. The Ninja’s 249cc liquid-cooled 16-valve twin-cylinder engine produces 33PS of peak power and 22Nm of torque. It hits 100kmph in 8.3 seconds and the motorcycle has a top speed of nearly 170kmph. The Kawasaki Ninja 250R also went on to win the OVERDRIVE Bike Of The Year award. See the detailed report on page 130.

FEB 2010


auto Expo



2010 The most comprehensive coverage of the Auto Expo begins here



Words Team OD Photography Gaurav S Thombre, Mohd Nasir


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X1 is the smallest SUV in the BMW range and will also be the cheapest BMW in India. Production will start later this year

X1 The BMW pavilion rode high on the marque’s success in India. BMW is now the best-selling luxury brand in India and it left no stone unturned in highlighting the fact. While the star of the BMW pavilion was the 5 Series Gran Turismo, the real shocker was the announcement that the X1 compact SUV will not only be launched in India later in the year but will also be assembled in Chennai. Consequently it’ll be the cheapest BMW you can buy in India. That translates into an ex-showroom price of under Rs 28 lakh, a rather mouth-watering prospect. At this price the likes of the Honda CR-V will have some serious problems. BMW’s philosophy behind the X1 is simple – to provide an entry level SUV in its X model range that currently has expensive models like the X5 and X6. The X1 replaces the X3 as the entry level model. The X3 in any case is due for a replacement early in this year and it will move a step closer to the X5 in price and size. Launched only a few months back internationally, the X1 is based on the 3 Series platform and keeping its positioning as a pure on-road vehicle, the X1 that will come to India will only get rear-wheel drive saving on both cost and complexity.

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The styling is typically BMW and takes cues from the new 7 Series especially in the large and rather upright kidney grille and the eyebrows on the headlamps. Under new design director Adrian Van Hooydonk, the flame surfacing is toned down and unlike the X3 there are no controversial and eye-popping details. In fact the low swooping roofline gives it a muscular stance and overall proportions are extremely well judged. Interiors are high quality, very car-like with many bits and pieces borrowed from the 3 Series, on which it is based, but with a raised seating position to give it an imposing SUV feel. The X1 also gets next generation iDrive. Engines will be similar to the 3 Series range in India. The best-seller will obviously be the 2.0-litre inline-4 diesel developing

177PS of power while the 2.5-litre straightsix petrol will also be offered with 215PS of power. Considering that the X1 only weighs 120kg more than the 3 Series, expect similar performance. Great on-road handling is a given with the X1 but to ensure good ride quality the X1 will be offered with regular tyres instead of run-flats.

5 series GT Only a chosen few would get to drive this one: the 5 Series Gran Turismo was launched at the Auto Expo and only 100 units will be up for grabs in India. The GT is based on the 7 Series platform and is a cross between a sedan, an SUV (SAV, as BMW calls its X5) and a GT coupe. The car isn’t a serious volume generator for BMW India. Instead it’s part of the strategy to fill every

conceivable niche in the market and offer choices galore in the premium segment. The 5 GT previews the face of the next generation 5 Series sedan that has already been unveiled internationally and will land on Indian shores by August. The GT will be available with a straight-six 3.0-litre diesel that powers the current 530d sedan and develops 247PS of power and 540Nm of torque. The highlight of this car is the eight-speed automatic transmission that is currently available only on the 760i and the brake energy regeneration system that increases the overall efficiency of the car. The interiors are luxuriously appointed and the limited edition will seat only two at the rear. BMW claims the car has the rear legroom of a 7 Series and the rear seats also recline making it truly luxurious. The limited edition also gets a standard panoramic roof. The 5 Series GT has been launched with a price tag of Rs 63 lakh, ex-showroom. A niche within a niche within a niche, that’s what the 5 Series GT aims to fill. The unique rear tailgate opens both as a conventional boot or as a hatchback to aid practicality. Below: X6 M is a monster with insane performance

760Li X6 M The X6 is already one of the most polarising vehicles money can buy - you either love it or you hate it and India seems to be in love. In the few months that the X6 has been on sale it has already found 83 Indian homes and now you have something even madder - the X6 M. Monstrous doesn’t even begin to describe the SAC (Sports Activity Coupe). The X6 was no shrinking violet but the M Power guys have gone and given it a hugely pumped up body kit, snarling air intakes and humongously flared wheel arches

housing massive 20-inch wheels - 315/35 at the rear and 275/40 up front. Beneath that power bulge on the hood is a crazy twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine that develops an insane 560PS of power and 680Nm of torque. It accelerates from 0 to 100kmph in just 4.7 seconds and top speed can be bumped up to 275kmph with an optional ‘M driver’s package’. By far and away this is the quickest SUV in the country today and it is even quicker than the manual transmission M3 Coupe. All the performance comes with a whopping price tag - Rs 1.30 crore.

The lord of luxury sedans is here. BMW launched its flagship760Li luxury sedan in the country with the brand new 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 directinjection petrol engine. The outputs are massive - 550PS of power and 750Nm of torque to be precise. The powerhouse is mated to the new eight-speed automatic transmission. Claimed to touch 100kmph in just 4.6 seconds it is limited to 250kmph like all BMWs. The car visually remains the same except for 19-inch alloy wheels and chromed gills on the side hinting at the V12 lurking inside. The price is a whopping 1.29 crore for the sheer performance and luxury on offer. FEB 2010


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BA JA J ninja 250r Bajaj had an uncharacteristically quiet Auto Expo. And yet, the crowds turned up to see the stall in which gleamed the dramatic KTM 690 Duke and the 990 SuperDuke, right next to the Ninja 250R in both the Indian colours - black and green. The rest of the stand showed off all the Bajaj bikes, including the impressive new Pulsar 135LS. Bajaj was originally not planning to participate at the Expo and that could explain why there were no concept or near-production models on the stand. Bajaj also didn’t bring the KTM 125cc concepts they showed at Milan. Bajaj says that those KTMs are still a year away from public appearances. Bajaj is currently trying to bridge the yawning gap between demand and supply for the Ninja 250R and a KTM announcement, or indeed the next Kawasaki products for that matter are still far away, perhaps during the festival season crescendo of 2010.

Hero Honda

karizma zmr The centrepiece of the Hero Honda stall was the Karizma ZMR, mounted in a rotating display sort of like a gyroscope, amidst cool water displays that formed themed patterns. Hero Honda also had a

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technology display where showgoers could look into the Honda PGM-FI system in detail and understand its inner workings. Flanking the Karizma ZMR was the full line of Hero Honda products and an interesting display focusing on Hero

Honda’s association with sports. Another interesting display was the junk Karizma - we kid you not - a replica made entirely of rusting nuts, bolts, rods, bearings etc. The junk Karizma was not a running prototype.


(Left) The Unicorn Sports Concept promises a new lease of life for the Unicorn, and may be launched by the year end

unicorn sport concept Like we guessed in our Auto Expo preview, Honda showed off a motorcycle billed as the Honda Unicorn Sport Concept at the Auto Expo, cleverly setting it next to the production models - the 2010 Stunner, the newly launched CB Twister etc to let us see how it would fit into the Honda line-up. Honda released no specification for the motorcycle and said the concept would help it gather information on the audience reactions, leading up to the finalisation of the design for the next Unicorn. The motorcycle did look very neat with fresh styling evident in practically every angle and aspect of the motorcycle. The concept was also wearing disc brakes at the rear suggesting a power upgrade - Honda’s extremely reluctant to upgrade aggregates unless functional requirements enforce it. Expect to see the production motorcycle just before the festive season.

cb twister Honda also launched the CB Twister, that was previewed last month. Honda has priced the Twister at Rs 41,850 for the base version, going up to Rs 47,850 for the top version with disc brake and self-start, and the bike will go on sale by the end of February 2010. The Auto Expo also saw Honda refresh the Stunner and the Dio. The Stunner gets new decals, a belly-pan fairing, and a tachometer. The Dio, unfortunately, merited only decal upgrades.

vfr1200f Honda showcased the technology tour de force, the VFR1200F, and said it was mulling a mid-year introduction. The VFR1200F is the first motorcycle in the world to feature a dual clutch transmission and has a six-speed automatic gearbox. The V4 engine churns out 172PS of power and 129Nm of torque. Honda also announced the launch of the 2010 Fireblade, now in two colours, black with gold wheels and the flashy orange-silver present at the show. FEB 2010


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Ashok Le yland Ibus2 The iBus2 built on a hybrid platform was a very interesting concept though it is nowhere close to production. What Ashok Leyland did launch was the new U-truck platform unveiling the U-4936 tractor and the U-2523 tipper. Some 25 variants of the new U-Truck platform will be introduced in the market over the next 18 months. The entire range straddling the 16-49 tonne segment will be powered by BS3 and BS4 compliant engines making between 160hp and 380hp. The platform will be equipped with on-board diagnostics systems and advanced telematics for real time track and trace. Ashok Leyland also launched a new engine family dubbed Neptune. Developed in-house, this new engine family sports an EGR to conform to BS4 as well as BS5 emission norms. The Neptune engines will complement the existing ‘H’ range of engines, though Ashok Leyland claims the former has better efficiency, lower operating and maintenance costs and a longer life.

Eicher VE VE Commercial Vehicles a 50:50 joint venture between Eicher and Volvo. trucks launched the VE range of heavy duty trucks. These trucks are a massive upgrade undertaken by Eicher to its existing range with technical assistance from Volvo. This range includes 6T - 40T GVW (gross vehicle weight) products including 4x2, 6x2, 8x2 rigid haulage trucks, a 4x2 tractor-trailer and 4x2 and 6x4 tippers. Through this JV, Eicher manages the volume segment business with their middle of the range low cost trucks while Volvo manages the premium end of the trucking business. Eicher also showcased the RESLF (rear engine semi low floor bus) which will assist in their target of achieving 20 per cent market share by 2015 as well as supporting the JNNURM project. The RESLF is equipped with a single step at the front, automatic integrated door locking, touch sensors and wire multiplexing coupled to a self-diagnostic system.

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Mahindr a

Navistar Buoyed by the booming truck business, Mahindra has launched a new range of trucks in association with US based Navistar under a joint venture formed in 2005 called the Mahindra Navistar Automotives Ltd. The heavy duty trucks in the range of 25 to 31 tonnes (called the MN25 and the MN31) are manufactured at a new greenfield plant near Chakan, Pune. The Navistar trucks will be powered by the 7.2-litre MaxxForce diesel engine which has been modified for Indian conditions. As such the traditional Brazilian designed 2-valve layout has changed to a 4-valve layout for better thermodynamic efficiencies to conform to the upcoming BS4 norms. Both trucks also sport a 6-forward and single reverse synchromesh transmission. This engine also features a mechanical injection system with a Bosch rotary pump with a 1800 bar common-rail fuel injection system. While the styling is impressive, these trucks will also offer a host of safety aids and creature comforts for the driver and co-driver.

Maxximo Over the last two years the Tata Ace has dominated the one-tonne commercial vehicle segment but finally Mahindra has launched a competitor in the Maxximo. This contemporary mini truck is powered by a world first 2-cylinder 4-valve per

cylinder DOHC common-rail diesel injection engine. It makes 25Ps of max power and 55Nm of max torque. It also has a rather large (3.2 square metre) load bay with a rated payload of 850kg. Mahindra has announced plans to launch an electric version of the Maxximo by October 2010.

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Prime position The OVERDRIVE stall at the Auto Expo 2010 was swamped for all the right reasons


eople could scarcely believe that they could take home a brand new Ford Endeavour just by subscribing to either OVERDRIVE or our sister publication Auto Monitor and participating in a lucky draw at any of our three stalls at the Auto Expo 2010 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. How often do you get to take home a full fledged SUV that looks contemporary,

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butch and stylish for less than 1000 bucks? So the visitors came in droves, pitting their pens against one another to fill subscription forms and take their chances. But the rewards did not stop just there. Visitors to our stall also got to participate in an extension of our magazine contests which were organised on the spot. People who got the right answers thus showing their enthusiasm for and knowledge of

automobiles won several prizes. These were anything but ordinary and included MP3 players sponsored by MegaAudio, sets of car tyres sponsored by our fine friends at JK Tyre, swanky car accessories by Galio who has supported us through the last two Auto Expos and more. Showgoers also flocked to our stalls to check out our new look January 2010 issue which received loads of appreciation

Visitors also got a good look at the Vardenchi custom built cruiser and had the opportunity to meet the builder himself. Akshay graciously lent us one of his finest creations which absolutely enthralled the crowds with its swanky bodywork and high levels of customisation. The thrills did not end there and on the fourth day of the Expo, enthusiasts were

treated to a rare visit by none other than Adrian Sutil, the principal driver for the Force India Formula One team. Sutil, after an animated interview for the CNBC TV18 OVERDRIVE show, also signed copies of the new issue and other Force India F1 memorabilia for fans. He also was photographed with the fans who as expected were floored by the experience. Adrian has after all revived the spirit of

Indian F1 viewers with his spirited on-track performances last season. Those who braved the cold for a tete-a-tete with Sutil were rewarded to say the least and could not have had wished for better. OVERDRIVE wishes Sutil and the Force India Formula One team even better luck in the 2010 season and may they set the Indian tri-colour fluttering even higher on the global motorsport horizon. FEB 2010


CNBC -TV18 OVERD R I V E Awards 2010

AWAR 2010 Presenting the most presitigious auto awards in the country, the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE Awards 2010 Photography Gaurav S Thombre

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FEB 2010


CNBC -TV18 OVERD R I V E Awards 2010

UV of the year

Mahindra Xylo ROLL OF HON OUR*

When we attended the launch of the Mahindra Xylo at


Chevrolet Captiva

the very beginning of 2009, we had great expectations from the vehicle. Mahindra’s second indigenous product though didn’t help its cause with its styling. It was boxy from the sides - you can actually accept that in vans, and it was quite startling from the front. But the first impressions from inside the car were extremely positive. It drove quite well, a dramatic improvement over the Scorpio. Its ride quality has also come along a fair bit, the interiors were spacious, wellplanned and Mahindra had even managed to get the interiors - a traditional weakness - to look well put together. We drove our long-term test Xylo over two record runs crisscrossing the country and logged 35,000 hard kilometres by the time the car was short-listed as a candidate for the UV of the Year award. And it was looking rather good. Along the way, the Xylo took on the establishment in the form of the Innova and while it was clear that the latter was more like a car, the Xylo’s excellent price tag, great interior space, more powerful and frugal diesel engine and its ability to cruise highways in supreme comfort ensured that the comparison test saw a dramatic victory for the Mahindra. The styling remained a sticking point, but as someone said, if you’re enjoying being inside so much, you won’t notice the exterior. In the year-end evaluations, the external jury members also noted the space, the quality and the driving refinement. And when that stunning price tag entered the picture, the Xylo’s case was pretty water tight. The Mahindra Xylo is the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE UV of the Year 2010.


Ford Endeavour

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Honda CR-V


Toyota Innova


Chevrolet Tavera


Honda CR-V


Mercedes-Benz M-Class *Till 2008, this was the SUV/UV of the Year

From left, Senthil Chengalvarayan, president & editorial director TV18 Business Media, and J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah present the Speedshift to Dr Pawan Goenka, head automotive sector, Rajan Wadhera, chief of engineering & development and Rajesh Jejurikar, chief of operations, automotive sector, Mahindra & Mahindra

Bike of the year

Kawasaki Ninja 250R ROLL OF HON OUR

At OVERDRIVE we firmly believe that our awards should


Yamaha YZF-R15

go to vehicles that break new ground. All-round improvement resulting in a better product than ever before simply isn’t enough. We need vehicles that show the way forward for the market. To the customers and to rival manufacturers. And so it was that from a field that included strong contenders like the Bajaj Discover 100, the Bajaj Pulsar 135LS and the sublime Royal Enfield Classic 500, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R emerged as our deserving winner. The Ninja is particularly apt for our country because it represents the ideal stepping stone to larger displacement multi-cylinder engines as our motorcycling masses mature. The Ninja is powerful enough to keep riders enthralled and its high-revving performance is wrapped in a delightfully capable, forgiving chassis that encourages riders to learn to ride better and faster. We also discovered that despite our first impressions, the Ninja isn’t as committed ergonomics-wise as say, an R15, and in the process is actually quite easy to ride on the street. And then it surprised us further by offering enough space for a fairly well-fed rider-pillion combination to be able to ride in comfort. That’s a phenomenal range of ability in one easy to use, easy to live with motorcycle package. We’ve always believed that there was space for a higher priced, multi-cylinder motorcycle. The Ninja is the first, we hope, of a slew of enthusiasts’ motorcycles and Bajaj breaks the mould on many levels with its launch. It’s the significance of the launch of the Ninja, coupled with its phenomenal abilities that saw it log the highest scores and win the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE Bike of the Year 2010 award.


Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi


Hero Honda CBZ X-Treme


TVS Apache


Bajaj Discover DTSi


Bajaj Pulsar DTSi


Bajaj Pulsar

From left, NR Narayanan, head auto loans, ICICI Bank, Shubhabrata Marmar, deputy editor OVERDRIVE, Anil Uniyal, COO, TV18 Business Media, Senthil Chengalvaryan, president & editorial director, TV18 Business Media with Rajiv Bajaj, MD Bajaj Auto Limited holding the Ninja’s Speedshift. Omar Abdullah, chief minister of J&K and the chief guest for the evening presented the award.

FEB 2010


CNBC -TV18 OVERD R I V E Awards 2010

Car of the year / Compact Car of the year Tata Nano

We knew at the launch of the Tata Nano that this would be the car that all the judges would flock to when it turned up for our annual awards judging. And so it was. But just like the Nano met and exceeded all our expectations, they were blown away as well. The Nano has had quite a history in India and even purely from an engineering standpoint, it’s a great achievement. Too many experts have said all too often that Tata’s cost and quality goals could never sit in the same room. Well, they have. The Tata Nano is a real car. For its price, you can’t even buy an autorickshaw in India, and yet, you simply cannot dismiss the Nano as anything but a real car. The interiors are extraordinarily spacious and while the all-pervasive grey plastic interiors are hardly exciting, they represent an excellent, functional and costefficient design. The Nano easily has more space inside than the venerable Maruti 800 and yet, in physical dimensions, it’s more akin to an autorickshaw than the 800. Which is phenomenal packaging.

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As we discovered in testing - we’re still the sole magazine to have road tested and compared the Nano to its nearest rivals - the Nano drives well and while performance isn’t electric it isn’t so slow that you can complain either. For all intended purposes this is a perfectly capable car. Top speed is 105kmph, more than enough for city running - which will be its dominant habitat and surprise, ride quality is actually pretty good. Handling is adequate, although our judges did comment that the Nano wasn’t a car they’d like to punt around a track at top speed. Which is fair, because that isn’t what the Nano was designed to do. It was designed to bring mobility at an unprecedented price to the vast majority of the Indian middle class, and this it does with aplomb. If you think about it, the Nano is about as expensive as a top-end television set, or five smartphones. Which is a ridiculously low amount of money for a full-fledged car. It’s this realisation that led to the Nano wowing the judges even


further. Not one of the external jurors expected the Tata microcar to be as real a car as it turned out to be. And in getting the Nano to that level of production reality, Tata Motors broke new ground. It’s the kind of innovation which will be studied in detail in the decades to come, and Tata Motors proved that innovative engineering, clever cost-efficient design and cutting edge packaging could be brought together to create a car at a price point that would at first glance seem impossible. And we think that’s what defines the Nano for us. The Tata Nano is logically impossible. And yet it’s already finding homes at a growing pace across India. The Ford Model T put America on wheels and set the wheels in motion for USA to become, for decades that followed, the world’s biggest car market. The Nano is a mobility revolution on the same scale lending wheels to the dreams of millions. This towering achievement of a motor car undoubtedly is the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE Car of the Year 2010.


Skoda Fabia


Hyundai i10


Hyundai Verna


Maruti-Suzuki Swift


Skoda Superb


Ford Mondeo


Maruti Suzuki Alto

From left, Ratan Tata, chairman Tata Motors, NR Narayanan, head auto loans, ICICI Bank, Omar Abdullah, chief minister of J&K and the chief guest for the evening with Ravi Kant, vice chairman, Girish Wagh, head Nano project, Prakash Telang, MD Tata Motors, Rajeev Dubey, president passenger car business unit with the Speedshift for the Compact Car of the Year

(above) Ratan Tata, chairman Tata Motors recieves the Speedshift for the Car of the Year from Omar Abdullah, chief minister of J&K, Sirish Chandran edtor OVERDRIVE and Bertrand D’souza deputy editor OVERDRIVE. Abdullah also unveiled the February subscriber special cover of OVERDRIVE (below) The winners strike a pose with the BOTY and COTY

FEB 2010


C om pa ro

B MW 320d


BMW 520d

Sibling rivalry The BMW 320d and the 520d, twins or poles apart? Words Halley Prabhakar Photography Gaurav S Thombre

116 FEB 2010


he BMW 320d has been one of the most loved cars at OVERDRIVE. We’ve always enjoyed it for the sheer driving pleasure it offers and the elegant looks combined with compact dimensions that make it the BMW best suited to Indian conditions. The petrol and diesel both have been lavished with high praise during their stints in the OVERDRIVE long-term fleet. The 2.0-litre common-rail diesel is a great performer. Given an update in 2008, the engine received more power and proved to be quicker than the petrol 325i. The new motor proved to be better than the outgoing diesel in every aspect, be it refinement, economy as well as power, leaving us with nothing to complain about. So what other car could challenge this great car? Well, it happens to be another BMW, big brother 520d. Why compare two cars from different segments, you may well ask. It is because both cars share the same 2.0-litre diesel engine and with the new entry level 5 Series being priced close to 320d Highline territory, we thought we’d put both cars through a comparo to find out if the 520d actually makes more sense than the 320d.

DESIGN AND ENGINEERING Both the cars have been designed by Chris Bangle and though the controversial design of the 5 Series is six years old now and is to be phased out next year by the all-new 5 Series, its 2003 vintage design theme still looks stunning if not futuristic. The car exudes a lot of aggression and great presence being a blend of sport and luxury elements. The headlight design does not look dated and the updated clear glass tail lamps with LED technology give the rear end of the car a striking look. In fact, the new F10 which was unveiled recently to replace the current 5 Series looks much more mellow and will take time to get accustomed to, in my opinion. The 3 Series lays greater emphasis on a sporty character with athletic wheel arches and headlamps that run up to the front fenders, making the car look wide while the prominent shoulder line gives the car a stretched look. The vee-shaped design on the bonnet stretches all the way down to the front air dam on the bumper while a ridge runs across the front, side and rear skirt, all of which along with a short overhang, enhance the muscular image. The 3 Series was given a few updates this year including the new headlamps which feature LED turn indicators. Meanwhile the rear end has been completely redesigned with all-new tail lamps which are completely monochrome and appear like a single entity with only a small rectangular area reserved for the reversing lights. When it comes to proportions, the 5 Series is clearly bigger than the 3 Series in every aspect; it’s longer, wider and sits higher than the 3 Series. The wheelbase is longer and the front and rear track are much wider ensuring better in-cabin space which matters specially if the car is going to be chauffeur driven. The only downside is that it isn’t as easy to maneuver in the city as the 3 Series, the reason being that the 5 Series is a full size sedan while the 3 Series is a compact luxury sedan. In fact the 3 Series is only as long as a Honda Civic. Where the interiors are concerned, the 5 Series is clearly roomier than the 3 Series, offering more cabin space with better headroom and more legroom for the rear occupants owing to the longer wheelbase and a bigger footprint. It also provides a massive boot with a capacity of 520 litres compared to the 320d’s 460 litres. The 3 Series has a brighter cabin thanks to its dual-tone dashboard and door pads with a combination of grey and beige shades with light shade wood inserts. The 5 Series in comparison is mellower with a darker single-tone dashboard with wood inserts. Both cars have cup FEB 2010


C om pa ro

Pulsar 1 35 LS


St unne r


fz 16

Segment smasher The Pulsar 135LS is a bike that renders segments obsolete... almost Words Vijayendra Vikram Photography Gaurav S Thombre

122 FEB 2010


ill a month ago, I was a firm believer in the segmentation of the Indian motorcycle arena. The entry level 100cc bikes are distinguished by their low cost and sky high claims of fuel efficiency. The executive commuters are small capacity but feature upmarket silhouette, more style and goodies. The 125s crept in a few years ago to bridge the gap between the commuters and the 150cc performance (sic) bikes. Of course it took a while before the Indian consumer took to them but this segment has evolved enough for manufacturers to keep devising bikes that blend performance and fuel efficiency. The 150s that have been the epitome of accessible performance in the country. were the pick of every biking enthusiast on a budget. Those with more moolah to spare splurged on the 180s and beyond. The point is that the bike segment boundaries are being stretched or crossed over. And it’s none other than Bajaj Auto that is bringing in the winds of change. Bajaj had done it earlier with the Boxer, Pulsar (the first 150 and 180), Platina, Discover and XCD, bikes which redefined their respective segments. The latest Bajaj segment shaker is the Pulsar 135 LS which rather than abide by an existing segment, is aiming to invent

its own niche in more ways than one. The bike is equipped with enough kit and performance to put the 150cc bikes to shame while its price and economy make it a lucrative alternative to the 125cc bikes. For a comparo, we have roped in the hottest 125cc, the Honda CBF Stunner, which is priced very close to the new ‘baby’ Pulsar. And their engine capacities are just 10cc apart. I have also lassoed in our pick of the 150s, the Yamaha FZ16.

Styling & build We rated the Stunner as one of the best looking bikes in the country when it was launched. It still is quite a stunner on the styling front. The Pulsar 135 however has raised the bar for Bajaj. It tries to branch away from the traditional Pulsar garb and sheds several family traits. It has even done away with the trademark, bulbous fuel tank. It is clearly an evolution of the Pulsar with a razor sharp and compact design in keeping with its light sports theme. The headlamp, interestingly, looks like an angular unit from a streetfighter, flanked by bodycoloured panels to hold it in place. Neatly executed to portray aggression, I say. The slender, smaller fuel tank sports nicely integrated FEB 2010


Dr i v e

toyota p r ius

Electric future

The Toyota Prius is the flag-bearer of the hybrid community and it is now on sale in India. What makes it so special? Words Ray Hutton

‘I AM THE NEW PRIUS, FOLLOW ME…’ The Toyota Prius is the Car of the Decade: the most significant car of the Noughties. That’s my opinion, not the result of any sort of official contest. The Prius has had a clean run on three continents. It was North American Car of the Year in 2004, Car of the Year in Europe in 2005 and Japanese Car of the Year back in 1997, a title won again last October by the new model which will go on sale in India in March. The Prius stands out from the winners in the other nine years because it is a game-changer. It is the first successful departure from the standard pattern of cars with internal combustion engines that have ruled for the past 100 years. Of course, the Prius has an internal combustion engine but only as one component of its hybrid power system. The petrol engine and electric motor have been arranged to work in concert, so that it can use either kind of propulsion – or both. Some clever computer technology is involved – the Prius has been described as ‘software on wheels’ – but admiration for the technology is less important than the results it brings. Prius has led the way in the conservation of resources and reduction of carbon dioxide. It has also formed the bridge to what many see as an electric future. Over three generations of Prius, there has been a progressive power shift from the combustion engine to the electric motor and soon there will be a plug-in version that can run as a pure electric car for up to 20km. Looking further ahead, the work that Toyota (and Honda) have done with hybrids puts these companies in the forefront for fuel cell car development, which need the same kind of electric powertrain. I first drove a Prius in 1998 and whilst it was technically interesting and impressive in the way it switched automatically between petrol engine and electric motor depending on the driving conditions, it wasn’t a very appealing car. Neither fast nor good to drive, it looked dumpy and was too expensive to make a logical case for itself – even if, to begin with, Toyota lost money on every one sold.

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FEB 2010


Dr i v e


Audi R 8 5. 2 FS I FEB 2010

Super league

The Audi R8 5.2 with the same V10 engine as the Lamborghini Gallardo has the credentials for supercar status Words Ray Hutton


ancy a cut-price Lamborghini? Its maker denies it, but the Audi R8 5.2 is just that. The R8 is a mid-engined two-seater coupe with four-wheel drive, like the Lamborghini Gallardo, and now it even has the same V10 engine as the Italian supercar. When it appeared in 2006, the gorgeous R8 was acclaimed as a convincing challenger to the Porsche 911, an icon that stands unique among the sports cars of its type and price. The original R8, with a 4.2-litre V8 engine, sat between the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the 911 Turbo. The R8 5.2 FSI Quattro is a square-on rival for the 911 Turbo – and an alternative to the Gallardo and the new Ferrari 458 Italia. In the UK, the new version is priced just short of £100,000 (Rs 74 lakh), £22,000 (Rs 16.3 lakh) more than the R8 4.2 - but £40,000 (Rs 29.7 lakh) cheaper than the Lamborghini Gallardo. The relationship is more than superficial. Audi, part of the Volkswagen Group, runs Lamborghini. The Gallardo was developed with an Audi-designed aluminium spaceframe chassis. That chassis, made in Germany, is the basis for the R8. The FEB 2010


R i de


10 yea rs of yamah a YZ F- R 6 FEB 2010

Rave limit Revving through a decade of the Yamaha R6 Words Harriet Ridley


tandfirst: Lusting after a YZF-R6, but not the bank-busting new price tag that Yamaha has come up with for the 2010 model? Then delving into the second-hand market will reveal plenty of bargains. Just make sure you know your R6s – there are ten years worth of them after all... I bought my first Yamaha YZF-R6 in 1999. It was also THE first R6. I was about to come off a six-month ban for totting up points on my licence for speeding, all acquired on my first sportsbike, a Suzuki GSX-R600. I had of course postponed the court case to October to ensure a winter ban. Still, it would have been cruel to keep my GSX-R garage bound. Even if it snowed the temptation for a spin would have been too great. So I sold it and now, a month before getting my licence back and to make up for those long months lost to public transport, it was time to buy a new pride and joy. The fact it would be a supersport was a given. I was a dedicated sports 600 girl back then. They appeared tailored to my small frame; the controls were at perfect reach for my child-like hands and feet; and unlike the big superbikes with their intimidating power, you could take a 600 by the scruff of its neck and rag it around a racetrack or the local twisties. Then there was the no small matter of Yamaha launching its brand new YZF-R6 – the latest supersport on the block and one that, if the hype got it right, would revolutionise the class. It did. The R6 was launched hot on the heels of the ground-breaking 1998 YZF-R1. Expectations ran high, and it didn’t disappoint, setting new performance standards. The R6 was the lightest and most powerful production 600, with a sophisticated twin-spar aluminium Deltabox II frame and fully-adjustable suspension. The carburetted engine was claimed to put out 109PS, rising to 121PS with the effects of ram air. Then there was the screaming 15,500rpm rev ceiling. The magazines compared the R6 to a 250 two-stroke, and it certainly recaptured some of the hooliganism of Yamaha’s RD350LC. Just like the RDs were raced to huge success in the Pro-Am series in the 80s where racers including Niall MacKenzie cut their teeth, so the R6 went on to spawn the UK’s incredibly exciting one-make R6 Cup series in 2003 that produced riders including Cal Crutchlow, who won the 2009 World Supersport championship – on an R6. But back to early ‘99, and after a winter of discontent spent reading every bike magazine, I’d decided the R6 was for me. So I bought it and fell in love with it. Handling was light and flickable, with suspension in a production class of its own. The conventional right-way-up forks gave outstanding feel compared to what we were used to. Despite the screaming top end, that first R6 had a better midrange than the GSX-R to keep you moving in traffic. But to make rapid progress the revs had to be kept high by frantically working the rather notchy gearbox. My R6 spent its life flirting with the rev limiter. Yet it never gave me a moment’s trouble. My only complaint was its thirst for oil, which forced me to carry a top-up under the seat for whenever the light flashed. It really was almost like owning a two-stroke. Yamaha’s R6 power claims weren’t without the usual dose of manufacturer specsheet optimism. True power on that first R6 was actually measured at 101PS. Still, it was the first time a production 600 had gone over the 100PS mark out of the crate. And the supposed 12PS increase due to ram air turned out to be a marketing ploy, much like the bogus 18,000rpm redline of the 2006 model. More on that later... The 1999 model was the first of a breed and it took years for its rivals to catch up. Give it another ten years and a standard bike could well become a valuable collector’s FEB 2010



ty r e t est

Tread silently Bridgestone introduces a new tyre for the luxury car segment that intends to go about its business quietly Words & photography Bertrand D’souza


yre technology is a fine art, and the work involved in developing a tyre with a specific purpose is as intricate a branch of engineering as is building an engine. Tyres play myriad roles and the largest of these roles is played out in the passenger car segment. In the hotly contested tyre wars, Bridgestone as a major player have introduced their latest arsenal for both Asian and Indian domestic markets. It comes in the form of a new luxury passenger car tyre dubbed the GR-90. This tyre belongs to the Turanza family of Bridgestone tyres, whose focus lies on comfort, low noise, efficiency and performance. The Turanza GR-90 will replace the GR-80 spec tyre in all markets. It does so on the strength of new technology that has improved the performance of the GR-90 is most respects compared to the GR-80. What makes the GR-90 special and significantly better than the GR-80 is its ability to reduce road noise considerably. The difference between the older generation tyre and the GR-90 was apparent when we got an op-

portunity to drive cars shod with both tyres at Bridgestone’s manufacturing facilities in Bangkok. The noise levels are perceptibly lower while at the same time grip in both wet and dry conditions has improved considerably in addition to enhanced ride damping characteristics. This is a key factor because the Turanza range of tyres are targeted at an affluent class which demands luxury from every aspect of their cars. So how exactly did Bridgestone achieve a quieter and comfortable tyre. The trick lies in getting the tread design right. Conventional tyres with symmetrical groove patterns or sipes transmit higher and consistent frequency noise waves that get carried into the passenger cabin and can be intrusive if you pay enough attention to it. It’s the slight hum we hear whenever tyres roll across even tarmac. To counter that tyre engineers at Bridgestone have come up with asymmetrical patterns which break up the tubular noise frequency and thereby reduce noise transmission. In addition improved compounds enhance ride quality as well as increase road grip, with a strong focus on wet handling.

At the test track, the tyres performed respectably when shod on a Toyota Camry and a Mercedes E-Class. The Camry especially was a revelation, since it inherently understeers immensely add to which the enormous amount of roll it generates exaggerates the situation. The Turanza GR-90 however greatly reduced this effect by gripping harder and thereby adding a lot of composure to the Camry’s character. Even in the wet tarmac tests with both standing and flowing water, the E-Class felt quite confident and stable with the GR-90. It also proved to be a lot quieter than the GR-80. The Turanza GR-90, which is also a green tyre will be available in India from early 2010 in a wide range of sizes and profiles starting from 14 inches all the way to 20 inches. Bridgestone’s focus is largely on capturing over 30 per cent of the radial tyre market in India, with the Turanza GR-90 contributing to this growth by targeting the luxury car segment. Bridgestone also intends to increase its dealer base by over 300 from its existing base of some 2000 dealers within the next two to three years.

Tread design is paramount in making tyres operate silently and the Turanza GR-90 reduces road noise by providing asymmetrical grooves to reduce noise frequency. The Turanza GR-90 operates very well in both wet and dry situations

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Dakar rolls on The 32nd edition is under way

Vokswagen driver Carlos Sainz continues to lead the car category overall in a raceprepped Touareg


hen the 2010 edition of the Dakar Rally that began on the first day of the year ends on January 17, the car and trucks will have covered 9030km while the bikes and quads will have traversed 8937km, lesser than last year’s total 9574km. The current 32nd Dakar rally has attracted 362 competitors including 151 bikes, 25 quads, 134 cars and

52 trucks. At the time of going to press, Volkswagen driver Spaniard Carlos Sainz continues to lead the car category overall through Stage 11, driving a race-prepped Touareg. Frenchman Cyril Depres astride a KTM 690 Rally Replica leads the bike category overall, Marcos Patronelli of Argentina leads the quad class overall on a Yamaha Raptor 700 and Vladimir Chagin leads the trucks category overall driving a Kamaz 4326.

FEB 2010


Free-wheeling Doctor’s orders

India is ready for MotoGP Valentino Rossi, nine-time world champion talks to OVERDRIVE about life, racing and motorcycles Words Shubhabrata Marmar, Swati Khandelwal-Jain/CNBC Photography Mohd Nasir

Waiting for Valentino Rossi to walk into the room and talk to you is nerve-wracking. And when he does walk in, it’s almost an anti-climax. This nine-time world champion, already regarded as the greatest motorcycle racer the world has ever seen, is an easy person to like. He likes to laugh. He enjoys it when he’s sure his ridiculously accented but intensely articulate English has been understood. And he makes every effort to make you comfortable. You’re supposed to be in awe of a man of his stature. Instead you find yourself whipped up in a whirl of affection for the easy-going Italian lad.

Shubhabrata Marmar Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start racing? Valentino Rossi I start riding minicross bikes when I was two and a half years old. But no racing. I first race the go-karts when I was four.

As you became more and more interested in motorsport, how did the travelling involved in racing around the world affect your schooling? Ya, I was not fantastic but not so bad at school but when I arrived at 17 years old, I had the offer for racing the world (125cc) championship (with Aprilia), so at that moment you have to decide because the first three races of the championship in 1996 was like Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan so you have to stay away one month. So you have to decide school or motorcycle and I decided on motorcycle. I decided not to take up the school but I think it was the right choice.

Is starting that early one of the secrets of your success... your ability? For sure. Ya, I think it’s very important, was very important. Also because my father, Graziano [an ex-grand prix racer] gave to me a lot of passion for motorcycle or for cars, for racing, for motorsport. So I grew up also with motorsport in my mind.

You know when you are 20 years old, you’re more brave, you are less scared about pain or about crash. When you are 30 on the other way you have more experience so you try with experience as fast as when you were 20 and brave. So you try to go at the FEB 2010

father was a rider, and you have to have a great passion for motorcycle to ride it, keep attention, go slow, so I have a long long career, I have been in MotoGP for long but in general I like a lot this type of life, and weekend of racing is full of adrenaline, so it’s great.

Your family has racing in it. How did they take to racing as your chosen career?

What is your life like when you are not racing?

At the beginning my mother was not very happy about motorsport and about my career but year by year she understood that this is my life and now she is quite happy and she is a great fan. My father, Graziano was a rider, I grew with some en-

I like to wake up late in the morning and I train everyday, I gym or I go with the motocross bike. For the rest when I don’t race I am on holiday so I just have fun, try to stay with my friends, go out in the night, go to do some shopping in the afternoon... it’s a normal life..

motorcycle is very dangerous so you have to try to crash as less as possible It’s been a long career for you. You’re been racing for something like 26 years now. Has age changed the way you race?


same speed with less risk. In a way motorcycle is very dangerous so you have to try to crash as less as possible to remain fit. When I was young I crash maybe 25-30 times a year. I don’t like very much the crash (laughs). So now I aim to crash only the five times a year.

gines, motorcycles and cars, so my father was crucial for my career and especially for my passion. The number 46 is Graziano’s racing number and I use it.

In your racing career of 14 years, you have practically beaten all the records there are. What does it take to make a champion like you? I have grown up with the motorcycles because my

If not racing motorcycles, what would Rossi have been? Any other interest or passions? A lot of times, I think, these question are asked... Seriously I don’t know, I always wanted to be a motorcycle racer, I don’t know what else... (shrugs)

Your friends follow you around the world. Some, like Uccio are celebrities like

valentino rossi

you. How much of a support system are they to you Ya, it’s great ’cause my friends have been the same all my life and I think this is so important. My close friends are the greatest fun so for me as a racer, that gives me a lot of power to try to win races.

Let’s talk about the transition you made from two- to four-strokes. The first time you rode the RC211V, did you immediately think it was the way forward? No. Because I love 500 two-stroke and this (new) bike was very critical. At the beginning of the four-stroke bike I was not very excited like the two-strokes but all the engineers say that the future is the four-strokes. So step by step we tried to fix the (Honda) 211 and after one year it was a really great bike. Very fast.

And when you first rode the 800cc versions then what did you think of them? 800 is just worse than 1000 because it’s more slow and less power. It is also another way to ride. Now the 800 are impressive because we did some incredible lap times but are more similar to the old 250cc. So I prefer 1000.

You don’t like electronic rider aids. How does the racing series control electronics so the rider stays in control?

He’s probably answered all of these questions before. But Rossi listens carefully before giving his typically candid, usually funny answers

I think we should give rider enough space to make the difference. But now for sure the electronic system help a lot, specially to not crash and make mistakes and this is very good. But it is also that the races become more flat. So with a little bit lesser electronics maybe.., These bikes need electronics because without electronics it becomes very dangerous to ride but maybe little bit less is more fun to follow.

FEB 2010



I would be a

stunt man for movies A tete a tete with Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil Words Bertrand D’souza Photography Gaurav S Thombre

Bertrand Adrian, welcome to Auto Expo in Delhi and nice having you here at the OVERDRIVE stall. So tell me how has your experience being here in Delhi been so far? adrian Oh, very good. In general I like the country since I have been here in 2008, coming here twice a year so it feels good. It’s a new culture for me to explore and my first time in Delhi. Delhi is a little bit different from Mumbai but very nice. I know two cities now and hopefully very soon a few more.

Yes, you could surely be racing here in 2011. Yeah, exactly, if we plan to have a race here it would be a fantastic event specially for Force India. We would like a home Grand Prix very soon and let’s see if it comes true. I think it would really be a good thing for Formula 1.

How does it feel racing for the very flamboyant Vijay Mallya and his Force India team? It’s a good, really nice thing to do, to work with him. He’s a big personality and a big personality in Formula 1 as well. Since the years he is in here he is doing a lot of things and the team is going well. His goals are really clear. So he is pushing really, really hard. As a person also he is a very nice guy. He likes the good times;

168 FEB 2010

as his Kingfisher slogan says, he is the king of good times. So that’s definitely what he is. He likes to party, he is an open guy, he wants you to come to his parties and just hang around. It’s so nice to have someone like that in a team and he is a great business man. So yeah, I can’t really find something bad about him, he is a great boss!

So what is Adrian Sutil like when he is off the track? We’ve got racers like Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard who just love the women and on the other hand you have Kimi Raikkonen who is an absolute party animal. So what is Adrian Sutil off the track like? Well, I love the women too!

driver would you be a musician? I think something else. I think I would be a stunt man for movies. I like the action and I like the movies and that was what I was missing in the piano. Was a bit too boring and that’s why I was looking for something else. I‘m glad I found racing, that is definitely my passion but as I said maybe after my career in Formula 1 I’ll become a stunt man or go into movies.

How has the road been to Formula 1? Has it been tough and challenging? You started off karting and progressed slowly, going through several racing series, from Europe to Japan. Was it tough?

has helped me a lot since Formula BMW. Now we are a good team and he took me into Formula 1 and I performed well. But it was a combination.

Adrian, you have raced with Lewis Hamilton in the same team in the Formula 3 Euro series and today you are also close friends, the best of friends from what I have heard. Psychologically does that create a barrier when you are racing against him at the pinnacle of motorsport? No, absolutely not. Somehow we can split those two parts, we become competitors but also become very good friends. So we respect each other. But when it comes to

I meet up with a few friends, play some piano maybe That’s for sure. The time that I have, that I spend at home is very limited. But when I’m free, when I have a few days, I go home, Switzerland, country side and that’s where my home is and I feel, I recharge my batteries and I get my energy back. I meet up with a few friends, play some piano maybe.

Considering your parents are professional musicians, if you weren’t a race car

Well, it was a long career surely. I started with go-karts when I was 13 and then I went on this ladder, all the way up, step by step. It was always hard to find somebody who would support you because it is a very expensive sport to start. So you need a lot of sponsors and it’s not so easy to get in. But I always had my goal clear and I put all the efforts in to convince people that I am the right one. I am glad I found my manager who

the race track we fight really hard but on a fair level. Let’s say the last one I had in Monza when I was next to him in the first row it was nice. Like two friends in the first row in a Formula 1 race was a good story.

But I guess this year would be more competitive considering KERS isn’t there and you have limitations on refuelling and all those regulations in place.

Adrian Sutil Yes, it will be different, I think. Can be a little more boring since we have all the same strategies. We have the same amount of fuel on board, maybe only one pit stop but altogether we have 26 cars, much more than last year. There will be some action definitely.

Now you’ve shown you’ve got the drive and the energy to go through and get on to the podium, I hope we see more of that this year as well. Yeah, I hope so too. Last year was our first step. In the second half of the season our car was really competitive and we did great races, some great qualifications. That’s what we want to continue, a very clear goal for the next season. Hopefully it will be in the first race itself in Bahrain, somewhere in the top 10 and score a lot of points.

Michael Schumacher is back in Formula 1. Are you expecting to see a lot of fireworks in F1 this year?

Wannabe movie star drives a Formula One car for a living... what a life!

I think it’s very nice for F1 to have him back and I think there will be a lot of German fans coming to the circuit again. Specially now that he will drive for Mercedes which is a dream for every German fan. He is 41 now, definitely a senior but he will be very very fast. So a big competitor and I can’t wait to race against him.

To win an Adrian Sutil autographed copy of the new look OVERDRIVE answer this simple question Adrian Sutil is best friends with a Nicole Scherzinger B Lewis Hamilton C Bertrand D’souza

Like most racers Adrian started small, beginning karting at age 13

Mail your answers to, subject: Sutil or snail mail to the editorial office address

FEB 2010


Better Riding C o nc e nt rat i o n

Sharp focus How to improve every aspect of

how you ride a motorcycle in one fell swoop. It’s all in your head PRO TIPS FROM SHUBHABRATA MARMAR


Photography Gaurav Thombre

iding a motorcycle is a complex art. The simplest part of it is machine control. The real difference is made by your mind - the decisions it makes, the ones that lead to those physical actions. Valentino Rossi said to OVERDRIVE during the interview that riding well was all about focus. The more you can concentrate, and more distractions you can eliminate inside your head when you are on a motorcycle, the better you will ride. Concentration allows your full brain power to be dedicated to making the best possible decisions. Every moment your brain spends thinking about a pending errand or what the wife said last night, is a moment the brain cannot think about your ride. The trick is to create a conscious moment that focuses your brain before a ride. This is the mental equivalent of the deep breath before you

dive into a swimming pool. As easy as that sounds, total concentration takes a lot of work. I believe it begins with you consciously regarding motorcycling with the seriousness it deserves. This is a mental change - you need to stop thinking, “It’s just a ride to the market.” and start thinking, “The road to the market is crowded, I better pay attention.” The beauty of it is that you already do this. We attain total concentration every day, while playing video games, when you’re on the phone and most of you who have ridden in difficult conditions like in the wet, or on terrible roads - have also achieved it. The concentration you achieved on that ride is one of the reasons why you remember those rides so well. The task is to eliminate distractions and stray thoughts and focus. You need to switch riding from a subconscious, background process to the only one running in the foreground.

You need to switch riding from being a subconscious, background process to the only one running in the foreground

190 FEB 2010

learning curve It seems silly to recommend meditation to ride better but it works. Forget the cliched padmasana pose though. Be comfortable - lying down works better than sitting up for some. Close your eyes and learn to ‘quiet’ your brain. On the motorcycle, spend some time composing yourself before you head out. I do this when I’m putting on my kit - I usually leave wearing the ear plugs, helmet and gloves until I’m next to the bike. And when I’m putting these on, I’m simultaneously readying myself for the ride. You’re putting all the unfinished thoughts, “When I get to office, I have to...” etc into compartments where you can return to them. When you ride off, the brain should be thinking only about riding. If you do it right, you should remember your ride in clear detail later..

CONCENTRATE Focus consciously. Eliminate stray thoughts. The more seriously you take riding, the easier this is DISTRACTIONS If you’re easily distracted, help yourself. Wear earplugs to quieten the world and switch the cellphone off while you’re on the motorcycle

PRACTICE Ride slower and stay alert to what you’re thinking. When the brain begins to wander, consciously bring it back to focus on the bike

The second OVERDRIVE presents TWO Track Schools by Indimotard is on March 27 & 28, 2010 at the Kari Speedway in Coimbatore. Seats are limited. Register now!

BIKE CONTROL Should come naturally, but the harder you concentrate, the more you’ll see your intentions and the results of your actions coincide

OVERDRIVE is giving away four commemorative T-shirts from the first OVERDRIVE presents TWO Track Schools by Indimotard.

The best place to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely and rapidly is a A parking lot B The highway C A grassy field D OVERDRIVE/Indimotard’s TWO Track School Mail your answers to, subject: Xxxx or snail mail to the editorial office address

FEB 2010


Gear & Gadgets O b j e c t s o f de s i re fo r t he mo st d i s c r i m i n at i n g ta ste s

BMW S1000RR collection Riding gear inspired by the marque’s first supersport bike

BMW Lifestyle has launched its 2010 collection inspired by the S1000RR superbike. Mostly in white with BMW team’s red and blue colours, the range includes race suits, full face lids, gloves and riding boots. Also part of the range are bags to stow away the kit when not in use.

Zai for Bentley Ski maker Zai has made these exclusive skis from specially developed composite materials. Price Rs 4.41 lakh approx

192 FEB 2010

Zenith El Primero

Eibach springs Performance springs for your car

Valentine’s Day is just round the corner. Treat your special one with this watch and who knows you might get the full BMW kit in return.

Price Rs 7.04 lakh

Available at luxury watch stores

Methods Automotive has introduced world renowned Eibach springs that have been tested on Swift and Innova for improved handling and better looks by lowering the cars. Methods claims there is no deterioration in ride quality.

Sonax car BMW M care products Power Meter The Sonax range of DIY care products include a host of paint protection solutions. Available through Methods Automotive.

BMW has launched an interesting application to meter the performance stats of vehicles.

Available free at iTunes store

Sony Aino

Sony’s latest can be used as a remote for your PS3. What more? An 8MP camera and you can load it with all your media for that on-the-go experience.

Price Rs 28,950

FEB 2010


Overdrive February 2010 Issue Preview  

A preview of the Feb 2010 issue of Overdrive magazine