Blue Wonder – the Jaguar XFR S
Jaguar shared the first glimpse of this car through a video – which showed the company’s most powerful saloon yet – sliding through the mountains of Europe. Everyone who saw it knew that the video didn’t require any background music because as Jaguar puts it ‘the hills were alive with the sound of the XFR-S.’ Yes, dumb-ass critics may say it’s a regular XF that’s gone to the gym and taken steroids, but it’s really more than just a pumped up bodybuilder.
There are some subtle, and some not-so-subtle changes in the overall design. The XFR-S is designed to improve airflow to the engine and brakes, thereby reducing drag. The front bumper sports larger lower intakes, vertical vanes and a splitter made out of carbon-fibre. The super-saloon also gets broader skirts and aero blades that make certain that the air runs smoothly from the side of the car to the rear. The car runs on 20-inch lightweight ‘Varuna’ alloy wheels that are wider than those on the current XFR and tyres that are specially developed by Pirelli make it extra special. So, the XFR-S cheats the wind very well, and then is the engine – the same 5 litre, V8 that does a massively impressive job in the mad XJR-S. It’s a 550bhp jackhammer.
The V8 churns out 680Nm of torque and the XFR-S flies from a 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds. But, even though the XFR-S has a bigger engine, it doesn’t go quicker than the BMW M5 or the E63 AMG – both of which are capable of doing the same distance in around 4.3 seconds. Jaguar plans to price the car lower than the M5 which will truly be interesting considering it’s a visual and acoustic delight.
Porsche Cayman S
All Porsches look – mostly – the same. But when the Cayman was introduced, it did look slightly more attractive than the others in the family. And now it gets better. This new one is longer, wider, lighter, lower, faster, more powerful and, not to forget, more efficient. Restyling efforts are clearly visible – Porsche has stretched the wheelbase by 2.4 inches and upped the size of the wheels to give it that edge when it comes to stability and handling. In fact, the lightweight body has resulted in the Cayman S shedding 27 kilograms when compared to the outgoing model. That’s massive, in sports car talk.
The new Cayman S gets a 3.4 litre, flat-six engine which churns out a meaty 325bhp. The car tops out at 282km/h and does a 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds. Features like direct injection, electrical system recuperation, auto start/stop and a coasting function help the driver get the most out of every drop of fuel. The Cayman is also equipped with – naturally – a ‘Sport’ button which allows the driver to shut down the auto start/stop and coasting on PDK-equipped models, thus allowing more aggressive engine response. Changes like a new electromechanical power steering system, next-generation Porsche Active Suspension Management (optional) and increased braking power make the Cayman S stand out among the rest of the pack and its competitors.
Comfort is at the centre of this car and with features like the ascending center console with high-set gearshift lever and sport seats with electric backrest adjustment are a testament to that. The Cayman S comes with a 7-inch touchscreen audio system as standard, and a premium 800-watt Burmester sound system is offered as an option.
We’ve seen the Italian car giant, Fiat, grow as the years go by but the company itself has other notions of growing. Take for instance its small car the 500. It is available in a convertible version, a performance variant, an all-electric edition and now they plan to expand this even further. The expansion is both literal and metaphorical as the 500 will be stretched by 26 inches to make way for the newer and longer 500L.
First witnessed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the Fiat 500L promises 42% more interior space and comfortable seating for five people. To be produced in Fiat’s Kragujevac, Siberia plant, the 500L exudes Fiats practical approach to making a car that will infact be a global product. The Italian car maker has not only added to the size of the car but has made additions to the power output as well.
The 500L will get the 1.4-liter MutliAir inline turbocharged four cylinder 160bhp engine that will produce a hefty 249Nm torque. Power is distributed to the front wheels through either a six-speed-manual transmission or a dual-clutch gearbox. One can expect the 500L to be have a more refined and advanced interior which will feature the Uconnect 5.0 system, featuring audio and navigation controls, among other functions.
Zero emissions is the talk of the town and Fiat wants to be the main focus of this party. The Fiat 500e is more than just an eco-friendly car. It might not be as exciting as a sports car with a V8 engine but it certainly will offer as much fun. It’s already got the iconic design, and since it’s Italian, we know it’s going to have a heart of gold.
The 500e is powered by a 111bhp-capable electric motor and a floor-mounted 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack which boasts of a top speed of 137km/h. The car provides a range of close to 129 kilometers once fully charged. To make the 500e more efficient, Fiat had to design a new chassis and suspension around the electric powertrain to improve driving dynamics. It also had to make some aerodynamic enhancements, such as a re-sculpted front and rear fascias and the rear spoiler.
The battery pack will take less than four hours to charge with a 240V charger or about 24 hours with a 120V charger. Fiat has also incorporated a feature called “creep” in the 500e which launches the car smoothly as soon as its brake pedal is released, similar to a vehicle powered by an idling engine. On the inside Fiat has given it, what they call, a retro-futuristic look as electric orange highlights bring the inside to life.
A 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, a TomTom navigation system and a push-button electronic shifter that sits below the instrument panel help in enhancing the in-cabin experience. Of course, like the others in its league, the Fiat 500e will come with a smartphone app for both Apple and Android phones.
Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet already has the Volt which no one can deny is built out of pioneering technology for electric cars. But the Volt is not all-electric, it’s a hybrid. GM wanted to showcase to the world that they can come up with something that ensures zero emissions and the Chevrolet Spark EV is a testament to that commitment. The Spark EV is the company’s first all-electric car and will be built in the GM Baltimore, Maryland transmission plant starting in early 2013. It gets an electric motor and a 20kWh lithium-ion battery. It’s got 130bhp at its disposal which makes it a quick car – a dash from 0-100km/h takes just 8 seconds which is even better than its petrol cousin.
GM says the Spark EV is the first all-electric vehicle in North America to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability. What is that, you ask? It helps charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in close to 20 minutes. GM further mentions that it can also be fully recharged in seven hours using a standard 240-volt outlet and maybe a little longer than that if charged through a 120-volt outlet. The company though is tight lipped about the distance it would do on a full charge, so we’ll have to wait till it’s launched officially.
It may be a small car but GM has packed in a lot of big stuff in it. The Spark EV will boast of having a smartphone-based infotainment system that gives drivers access to navigation and music applications. That apart those with a compatible iPhone can hook up their phones to the system and send emails or texts by using Apple’s Siri. GM has also managed to pack in electronic stability control in this car. GM will be selling the Spark EV in California soon post which it will be available in Oregon, and in South Korea, Canada and other global markets.
Lamborghini Aventador Roadster
When Lamborghini said that they were working on a new car that was going to be the successor to former beauties like the Diablo, Countach and the Murcielago, there was a doubt in people’s mind whether they would be able to pull off what they did with these yesteryear beauties. The answer was a stunned silence when the Italian company unveiled the Aventador to the crowd.
The raging bull this time around wanted to go for the kill and that’s exactly what it did when it unveiled the all-new Aventador Roadster. The LP 700-4 Roadster is very unique when it comes to looks and technology. It gets a two-piece carbon fibre roof which has been made by using various technologies like forged composite and RTM. This makes each component light and, in this case, less than 6 kilograms, which certainly enhances the performance of such a vehicle.
The Aventador Roadster gets a 6.5 litre, 700bhp engine which helps this topless beauty go from a standstill to 100km/h in 3 seconds. ISR 7-speed gearbox and push-rod suspension make the new Aventador Roadster a totally unique supercar with no direct competition. The interior, is finished in a leather called Sabbia Nefertem looks phenomenally elegant with the hand-made craftsmanship from Sant’ Agata Bolognese. Of course the Roadster’s V12 also includes a cylinder deactivation system when the engine is working at partial capacityalong with an innovative, instant Start/Stop system. This is an absolute first in this segment.
Mercedes SLS AMG Black
The aggressive looking madness is here. The Mercedes SLS AMG black looks smashing with the SLS GT3-inspired body kit with new bumpers, revised side skirts, flared fenders and a rear diffuser. Beside all that the SLS AMG Black also gets tinted headlights and a carbon fiber rear wing. The 19/20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires help it get that stability because the kind of engine this one’s got, it definitely needs it.
The SLS AMG Black gets the 6.2 litre V8 engine with what Mercedes describes as fully revised high-speed valve train with modified camshafts, adapted cam geometry and optimized bucket tappets featuring a special coating that is typically used on racing engines. In short, this thing will whizz past you and you won’t even know. These modifications to the engine have done wonders to the performance as now the engine develops 622bhp and 634Nm torque. Connected to the AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, this coupe scrams from 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 315 km/h.
It weighs in at 1,550 kilograms which is 70 kilograms less than the standard model and gets additional performance upgrades which include AMG Adaptive performance suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, a CFRP drive shaft and a lightweight lithium-ion battery. To be launched soon, we are sure that there are a whole bunch of people waiting for a taste of their own SLS AMG Black series.
Purely a design study, the Ener-G-Force brings out Mercedes’ vision for the future of its off-road models and what we feel is that it could certainly be the inspiration for the next avatar of the G-Wagen. The concept picks up from the classic Mercedes off-roader and is the recipient of, as one can see here, LED headlamps, a roof carrier that is integrated into the body and additional lights on the roof.
It lacks those beautiful design lines which we see in many cars of today but it still looks spot on for a highway patrol car from 2025, which was Mercedes’ intention in the first place. The German company will certainly look upto this as inspiration for replacing the long running G-Wagen. The Ener-G-Force has things in common with the DC100 concept – two to be precise. One being that it stands to replace a predecessor which has been around and loved for many years and two, it won’t make it to production.
Power comes from four individual hub-mounted electric motors with a quick-change of battery packs mounted in the skirts. Changes in the colour of the illumination of the side skirts indicate the operating and charge status of these energy packs. The Ener-G-Force stores recycled water in tanks on the roof, which are then transferred to the ‘hydro-tech converter’ where natural and renewable resources are converted into hydrogen for operating the fuel cells. The Ener-G-Force emits nothing but water and has an operating range of about 800 kilometers.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary edition
Jeep unveiled the Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary limited edition off-roader and to everybody’s delight has brought in more than just another off-road vehicle. Based on the Rubicon, of course, this limited edition version will be sold as a 2-door or 4-door vehicle.
Powered by a Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 engine that delivers 285bhp and 352 Nm of torque, the Wrangler Rubicon will come with a choice between a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic gearbox. The transmission is based on a part-time 4WD system. What we’ll also get to see in this limited edition model is electronic-locking front and rear Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lok locking differentials and Rock-Trac transfer case.
In comparison to the standard Rubicon, the limited edition features a higher ride, of 0.5 inches, plus BF Goodrich KM2 tyres measuring 265/70 R17 which are mounted on stain black 17 inch Rubicon alloy rims with the Jeep Wrangler emblem on the outside lip.
Depending on the customers’ preference, Jeep will be offering the standard Premium Sunrider soft top with add-ons like a 3-piece black hard top or a body-coloured hard top. There are also tail lamp guards alongside a dual intake Power Dome hood, red leather seats, red stitching on the steering wheel and central console, Mopar black fuel filler and black front and rear steel bumpers.
BMW i3 and i8
BMWs ‘i’ division has been pretty busy over the past few months and things are just about shaping up for the Bavarian car manufacturer, as it aims to introduce the world to its own range of electric vehicles. The i3, for starters, is aimed at city commute and is BMW’s solution to an all-electric city car. The i3 is a spin-off of the one shown last year, but after giving it one look, the eyebrows ask a question – whether it will see the light of day with regards to production.
For the time being though, the configuration on paper looks promising. It shares BMW’s ‘stream flow’ design language and the chassis, most of the body, and the safety cell are all made of lightweight carbon fibre. The i3 Coupe Concept gets a rear-mounted electric motor which churns out 170bhp and 249 Nm of torque and this is the sole reason why it can move from a standstill to 100km/h in just 7.8 seconds. Power is sent through a single-speed transmission to the rear wheels. BMW estimates that this car will give a range of anywhere between 129 to 160 kilometers on a full charge.
Inside, on the dash are two displays – the first being a 6.5-inch screen with information about your speed, power, and so on and the larger one (8.8 inches) which shows the BMW iConnectDrive suite, with navigation, infotainment, messages, schedules, and a whole lot more.
Another such concept shared by BMW, of which we caught a glimpse in Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, made its way to the Motor show as well – the i8 Spyder. But that was the 4-seater i8 Coupe. BMW has taken that idea and further broken it down. The result is a beautiful looking 2-seater i8 Spyder and it has the same engine as the Coupe.
What we can say is that the i8 Spyder looks amazing and it’s got a beautiful engine to boot. It combines a modified front-mounted version of its younger sibling i3, electric drive system and a rear-mounted turbocharged three cylinder petrol powertrain. The results are jaw dropping. With 356bhp at its disposal, the i8 Spyder is expected to dismiss a 0-100km/h sprint in under 5 seconds.
It can go 30 kilometers on pure electric range and can do a distance of more than 480 kilometers combined. The drivetrain layout yields a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and there’s no doubt about the excellent high-speed handling capabilities that BMW is famous for. The i8 Spyder is full of crazy stuff or new age technology that may or may not make it to production. But the best of all was the pair of electric scooters that fold to fit beneath the transparent engine-compartment cover. It’s radical, new and well designed and BMW will push the i8 Coupe through production for sure but till then, these two are candy for your eyes.
The Lexus LF-LC Concept 2+2 hybrid sport coupe showcased the future design direction for Lexus with an emphasis on a driver-focused vehicle. The design revolution which started with the CT and GS at the Detroit Motorshow helped Lexus engineers and designers think beyond the strict boundaries of performance, technology and, not to forget, style.
The Lexus LF-LC displays the new Lexus design language as we witness the signature Lexus spindle grille and rear architecture. The curvaceous and shapely LF-LC gets daytime running lights shaped like an “L” and we also get to see vertical fog lamps in dot matrix pattern.
This front-engined, rear-wheel drive Lexus LF-LC Concept features Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive. This system features an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, combined with an advanced high-energy battery pack and an electric motor. Lexus says that petrol and electric hybrid setup works together to produce 500bhp but doesn’t let in on the power split between the fuel powered engine and electric power supply. The LF-LC also incorporates a racing-style steering wheel which is clad in lightweight carbon fibre and contains integrated controls as well as the start button.
Inside one finds twin 12.3-inch LCD screens which display information and navigation. A touch-screen control board allows you to toggle between the audio system, climate control and navigation. In addition to this Lexus has provided a pop-up touch-screen keyboard which will help you input your entries. Similar touch-screen surfaces on each door operate the windows, mirrors, seat adjustments and personal entertainment settings.