Mega Test - Best of 2018: 12th Anniversary Special

By Team autoX | on November 24, 2018 Follow us on Autox Google News

At 60 vehicles, this is our biggest mega-test ever. Here are the best new machines of the year – each of them evaluated in the most thorough and transparent way possible. We trust you’ll enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed putting together this battle for ultimate supremacy (and bragging rights).

Yes, after being on such good behaviour for so long, we’re back at the BIC – not merely because we enjoy pounding around in fun cars and bikes, but also because it provides a controlled environment in which to test each new vehicle that was launched in the past year. Well, all the ones that we were able to get our hands on anyway.

We’re not just testing how fast a machine is, but also evaluating its quality, comfort, ride, handling, refinement, design, drivetrain and practicality. We make every attempt to be as transparent, objective and scientific as possible. But there are some subjective factors as well. For instance, X-Factor is that little special something that a machine brings to the table. With its heritage, a Mercedes G-Wagen, for instance, has X-Factor in spades.

Value for Money is one of the most important aspects in our market, and, therefore, it gets the most points. Of course, it’s not just a case of giving the most inexpensive machine the greatest points – but also looking at what it offers relative to its competition.

The only purely objective field is Lap Time, which gives us a uniform method to determine virtually all the dynamic factors of a vehicle, such as power, high-speed stability, handling, braking, etc. And, well, we all like to drive and ride – so this is important to us.

The fastest car of the bunch was the Ferrari 488 GTB, while the slowest was the Renault Captur – the two were separated by 20.6 seconds and 15 points, which equates to .7 points per second. As always, the four-wheel lap times are set by our Editor, and fearless leader, Dhruv Behl – who recently stood on the top step of the podium during the final VW Ameo Cup race weekend at the BIC (see our motorsport section for the full story) – while the two-wheel times were once again set by bike racer, and consummate professional, Sarath Kumar. The idea is not to set lap times that deliver ultimate one lap pace, but laps that are consistent and smooth.

Like last year, we once again used the 2.0-kilometre short loop that consists primarily of the back half of the circuit. This eliminates the main straight and the 1.2-kilometre back straight – so, in a sense, it neutralises the straight-line speed advantage of the most powerful machines. But, that’s fine, since our objective is to use the lap time to get an objective marker for overall performance.

A track map points out the section of track that we utilise – the red line depicts the loop for the four-wheel vehicles, while the blue depicts the two-wheel loop, the only difference being that the bikes and scooters used the inside / bike loop of the parabolica at turns 10, 11 and 12. Lap times are monitored by the timing system at the BIC. Each vehicle is fitted with a transponder to ensure that all lap times are accurate to the hundredth of a second.

The evaluators include our full team of experienced road testers, each of whom score every vehicle on its different parameters before the final scores are averaged to ensure that no biases come into play. Again, our aim is to be as transparent and objective as humanly possible!

So, let the games begin...
 

Ferrari 488 GTB, Track Test
Ferrari 488 GTB, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:08.0
TOTAL SCORE: 65
On behalf of the entire team, I think it’s safe to say that the most exciting machine we’ve tested all year is the Ferrari 488 Pista – a ‘hardcore’ version of the car that you see here...
 

Mahindra Marazzo, Track Test
Mahindra Marazzo, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:23.2
TOTAL SCORE: 65.4
It’s safe to say that the Mahindra Marazzo was the surprise of this year’s ‘Best of 2018’ test. While I had driven it previously – and had been hugely impressed by it – my colleagues saw it in the flesh for the first time during this mega test...
 

Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, Track Test
Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:08.9
TOTAL SCORE: 65.8
When a sports sedan makes almost as much power and torque as a supercar, you know it’s going to be as mad as a hatter. Yes, we’re talking about the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S. It pushes out an insane 612bhp and 850Nm....
 

Maruti Suzuki Swift, Track Test
Maruti Suzuki Swift, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:19.7
TOTAL SCORE: 66.5
The Swift is one of the very few mass market cars that is still fun to drive. With every carmaker in the race to produce cars that are as comfortable and efficient as they can possibly be, Maruti Suzuki...
 

Hyundai Santro, Track Test
Hyundai Santro, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:21.6
TOTAL SCORE: 66.6
COMMENTS:The Santro is a brand name that established Hyundai’s presence in India. The company managed to sell over 1.3 million units of the car in India, kicking off their journey to become the second largest...
 

Audi RS 5 Coupe, Track Test
Audi RS 5 Coupe, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:09.8
TOTAL SCORE: 71.7
I still remember when I first drove the Audi RS 5 Coupe a few months ago – I was literally smitten by it. In fact, I’m still mesmerised by it. Yes, the Audi RS 5 Coupe can have the effect on you...
 

Ducati Monster 821, Track Test
Ducati Monster 821, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:09.1
TOTAL SCORE: 73
The Ducati Monster 821 is our undisputed performance machine, which clocked the fastest lap time on the track. Of course, with Ducati’s handling prowess and engineering this isn’t exactly surprising. The Monster 821 pays...
 

Suzuki GSX-S750, Track Test
Suzuki GSX-S750, Track Test

LAP TIME: N/A
TOTAL SCORE: 73.5
Here’s the first of our ‘Best of 2018’ motorcycles – the Suzuki GSX-S750. Ever since its launch in India this year, it has continued to impress us. We first tested it at the BIC during its launch and immediately...
 

TVS NTorq, Track Test
TVS NTorq, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:33.5
TOTAL SCORE: 75.2
TVS has been on a roll this year. The launch of TVS Apache RR 310 was eagerly awaited ever since TVS announced their collaboration with BMW. However, their best launch this year – and quite possibly of all time – is not the...
 

Okinawa Ridge +, Track Test
Okinawa Ridge +, Track Test

LAP TIME: 02:52.1
TOTAL SCORE: 39.5
The Ridge + is the newest electric scooter from Gurugram-based electric two-wheeler maker Okinawa. While the electric scooter does have some quality issues, it’s still a pretty neat machine. The battery technology is pretty basic...
 

TVS Radeon, Track Test
TVS Radeon, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:38.6
TOTAL SCORE: 47.9
Finding yourself on an 110cc commuter motorcycle on a racetrack can be a bit amusing. And since all of us love to have a good laugh, we had the all-new TVS Radeon for our entertainment during our time at the track...
 

HONDA GRAZIA, Track Test
HONDA GRAZIA, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:40.8
TOTAL SCORE: 54
Honda’s presence in the 110cc scooter space is formidable, to say the least – after all, they sell more Activas a month than my local grocer manages to sell candies in a year. But, they haven’t been able to replicate the same success...
 

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, Track Test
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:33.1
TOTAL SCORE: 54.3
Refreshed and redesigned for 2018, the entire Softail line-up from Harley-Davidson has received a much-needed makeover. The newer bikes are lighter and more agile than the outgoing models, and they easily excel over any....
 

Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic, Track Test
Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:32.4
TOTAL SCORE: 54.4
In India, the Heritage Classic sits at the top of Harley-Davidson’s all-new Softail range. And just like the Fat Boy, the Heritage Classic comes with a number of updates. However, the major highlights of this new classic...
 

HERO Xtreme 200R, Track Test
HERO Xtreme 200R, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:24.4
TOTAL SCORE: 55.1
It’s true that the Xtreme 200R has been a little late to join the party. But, despite having a delayed start, the new street naked from Hero promises to shake up the 200cc premium commuter segment – that’s because it carries the...
 

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, Track Test
Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:28.8
TOTAL SCORE: 55.5
Of the entire new 2018 Softail range, the new Fat Bob looks the best in my opinion. In spite of Harley-Davidson’s decision not to use any chrome on the bike, the new Fat Bob looks incredibly sinister – with its all-black theme...
 

Kawasaki Vulcan S, Track Test
Kawasaki Vulcan S, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:20.4
TOTAL SCORE: 56.8
The Kawasaki Vulcan S isn’t a new motorcycle. Sure, it was launched in India less than a year ago, but it’s been on sale in the international market for nearly 3 years. And that isn’t the only challenge that the Vulcan faces in India...
 

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster, Track Test
Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:27.3
TOTAL SCORE: 59.7
Triumph’s Bonneville range of motorcycles are undoubtedly among the best in the business. Not only are they true to their ‘Modern Classic’ image, but also offer something for everyone. There’s the light and agile Street Twin...
 

HONDA X-BLADE, Track Test
HONDA X-BLADE, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:24.0
TOTAL SCORE: 59.7
When Honda brought in the X-Blade in March, they had us scratching our heads in wonder. You see, Honda already had the Honda Unicorn 160 and the CB Hornet 160R on sale. Adding a third bike in the same segment, at more or less the same price...
 

Ducati Scrambler 1100, Track Test
Ducati Scrambler 1100, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:15.1
TOTAL SCORE: 64.1
In 2014, Ducati brought back the retro-styled Scrambler 803 to market, which made its debut in India a year later. The idea was to allow riders a sense of freedom, along with an easy everyday riding experience. This bold decision turned out to be a masterstroke...
 

Aprilia SR 125, Track Test
Aprilia SR 125, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:36.6
TOTAL SCORE: 65.2
Scooters have always been strictly commuters. When we talk about riding pleasure or ‘wind in the hair,’ the scooter is the last thing that comes to mind. But Aprilia changed all that with the launch of the Aprilia SR 150 in 2016. Amongst other things, it introduced...

Suzuki Burgman street, Track Test
Suzuki Burgman street, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:37.0
TOTAL SCORE: 65.2
The Burgman is Suzuki’s foray into the premium 125cc scooter segment, with the introduction of a very well-known name in the world of scooters. The Burgman is famous for being a comfortable touring scooter. But, while the Suzuki Burgman Street 125...
 

TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Track Test
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:23.4
TOTAL SCORE: 66.3
The TVS Apache RTR 160 has always symbolised the idea of affordable fun, but the previous-generation model was held back by vibrations from the motor and average quality parts. The new-gen RTR 160 4V, however...
 

BMW G 310 R , Track Test
BMW G 310 R , Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.7
TOTAL SCORE: 67.2
When BMW launched the G 310 R a few months ago, it raised quite a few eyebrows. Priced at `2.99 lakh, the G 310 R, on paper, comes across as quite an expensive proposition – especially since shelling out a similar amount can fetch...
 

Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx, Track Test
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCx, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:14.8
Total Score: 68.1
Ever since its launch in 2012, the Tiger 1200 has continued to be a desirable adventure bike. And, in terms of appearance, its rugged look is quite difficult to resist. The new 2018 XC model comes with all the bells and whistles...
 

TVS Apache RR 310, Track Test
TVS Apache RR 310, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.8
TOTAL SCORE: 70.2
If we had to pick one motorcycle here that was buzzing with excitement and interest both before and after its launch, it would undoubtedly be the TVS Apache RR 310. You see, not only did it mark TVS’ foray into the ‘big bike’ segment...
 

Triumph Tiger 800, Track Test
Triumph Tiger 800, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:14.2
TOTAL SCORE: 70.2
The Triumph Tiger 800 may have finished below its Bavarian rivals – the BMW F 750 GS and the F 850 GS – but that doesn’t make it any less of a motorcycle. In fact, it was only that the BMWs are better set up for the tarmac than the Tigers...
 

Yamaha R15 V3, Track Test
Yamaha R15 V3, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:21.3
TOTAL SCORE: 70.6
Let’s cut straight to the chase. Of all the two-wheelers that we had lined up for our anniversary special at the BIC, the Yamaha R15 V3 was the only motorcycle that well and truly suited the setting. You see, this little pocket-rocket...
 

Ducati Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak, Track Test
Ducati Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:12.0
TOTAL SCORE: 72.6
This ridiculously cool looking thing you see here is the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak. And if this were a beauty pageant instead of a track test, the Multistrada would win it by a country mile – there’s simply no doubt about...
 

AUDI Q5, Track Test
AUDI Q5, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:23.8
TOTAL SCORE: 54.5
At first, it might seem difficult to distinguish between the second-generation Audi Q5 and the model it replaces, especially from the perspective of design, but a closer look reveals a barrel full of changes. It’s true that the silhouette...
 

Ford Freestyle, Track Test
Ford Freestyle, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:18.9
TOTAL SCORE: 55.1
Built on the platform of the current generation Figo, the Freestyle has the same wheelbase. However, with its crossover cladding and raised ground clearance, it’s marginally, longer, wider and taller than the standard hatchback...
 

Range Rover Evoque Convertible, Track Test
Range Rover Evoque Convertible, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:18.8
TOTAL SCORE: 55.1
SUVs are sensible vehicles – with high ground clearance, a decent boot and reasonable space on offer. Their increasing popularity is understandable and hardly needs any explanation. But the Range Rover Evoque Convertible is quite the paradox...
 

Honda CR-V, Track Test
Honda CR-V, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:24.3
TOTAL SCORE: 55.1
It goes without saying that the CR-V has quite a few die-hard loyalists in India. The keyword being ‘a few.’ For, as a petrol-only SUV, the CR-V has had a hard time off late in India. Well, Honda took note of the problem...
 

Toyota Yaris, Track Test
Toyota Yaris, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:20.7
TOTAL SCORE: 56.7
The Yaris competes in a segment wherein brand names matter, a lot! And for this very reason, the Honda City continues to be relevant in the segment, even today. Now, the Yaris – with its Toyota badge – is headed in a similar direction. But, there’s a problem...
 

Lexus NX 300h, Track Test
Lexus NX 300h, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:22.7
TOTAL SCORE: 57.3
If you’re looking for a mid-size SUV with killer looks and an eco-friendly footprint, look no further than the Lexus NX 300h. With perhaps the most aggressive styling of all Lexus products – with the exception only of the stunning...
 

Honda Amaze, Track Test
Honda Amaze, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:19.4
TOTAL SCORE: 58.7
The compact sedan segment has suddenly become a hotly contested one, with the second-generation Amaze truly taking the fight to the segment-leading Maruti Suzuki Dzire. The new Amaze offers acres of cabin space, reasonably comfortable...
 

BMW X3, Track Test
BMW X3, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:18.0/span>
TOTAL SCORE: 59.2
The X3 is a tricky one in the luxury SUV space. The thing is that, amongst its rivals, it just doesn’t feel quite as premium. And that’s a problem! People who are buying luxury SUVs look for the most up-to-date product in terms of design...
 

Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Track Test
Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.7
TOTAL SCORE: 59.9
The saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ probably doesn’t translate well in German, because there was very little that one could fault with the C-Class, and yet it’s been fixed. The question is – how? When the W205 generation of the C-Class...
 

BMW 6 GT, Track Test
BMW 6 GT, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:16.6
TOTAL SCORE: 62.7
The 6GT was launched to fill the void between the 7 and the 5 Series. Although, it’s a replacement to the 5GT, the 6GT does have much more elegant design. And, yet, the overall silhouette of the car, with its chunky rear-end...
 

Volvo XC40, Track Test
Volvo XC40, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.1
TOTAL SCORE: 62.9
The Volvo XC40 is a delight to drive. All you need to do is look at its lap time to figure out how much fun we had driving it on the track. The first ever compact SUV from the Swedish carmaker managed to beat the Mercedes C-Class, S-Class...
 

Maserati Levante, Track Test
Maserati Levante, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:15.8
TOTAL SCORE: 63.3
The auto industry around the world is going through – for lack of a better term – an SUV love affair. Everyone wants to own an SUV, and every car manufacturer thinks that they can make one. While it’s perfectly acceptable for manufacturers...
 

Range Rover Velar, Track Test
Range Rover Velar, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:19.3
TOTAL SCORE: 63.8
After 70 years of being the go-to choice for utility, practicality, user-friendliness and, above all, unparalleled off-road capability, Land Rover has decided to take a different approach to bridge some of the gaps in their line-up...
 

Audi Q7, Track Test
Audi Q7, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:16.9
TOTAL SCORE: 64
Big luxury SUVs are still very much in demand. And while, in the past, it was the diesel option that was more popular, now it seems that petrol SUVs are making a comeback – which is why Audi has decided to launch the Q7 with a brand new 2.0-litre petrol...
 

Volkswagen Passat, Track Test
Volkswagen Passat, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:16.7
TOTAL SCORE: 64.2
In the not-so-distant past, sedans were a mark of prestige. But, with the SUV wave hitting the world hard, premium sedans are being largely overlooked. But still, there are sedans that you can fall in love with – and the Volkswagen Passat...
 

Lexus ES 300h, Track Test
Lexus ES 300h, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.7
TOTAL SCORE: 64.4
A look at the sales of Lexus in India is enough to make it clear that the ES sedan is, by far, their most popular product. And now, with the launch of the seventh-generation ES in India, a lot is riding on this new car. In terms of appearance...
 

Volvo XC60, Track Test
Volvo XC60, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.6
TOTAL SCORE: 64.5
This is the current ‘World Car of the Year,’ which says a lot about how the new XC60 has been received around the world. There’s no doubt that Chinese ownership of this Swedish carmaker has brought about some great changes and benefits...
 

Lexus LS 500h, Track Test
Lexus LS 500h, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:16.2
TOTAL SCORE: 64.5
If there was one thing that none of us expected to happen, it was that a hybrid powered, 2.3-ton luxury barge – the Lexus LS 500h – would clock the 7th fastest lap time in this test. Even now, it seems surprising for a car that’s very much...
 

Lexus RC F, Track Test
Lexus RC F, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:10.5
TOTAL SCORE: 64.7
There are multiple reasons to fall in love with the Lexus RC F. One, of course, is the fact that, from a design purists’ perspective, the RC F is perhaps the finest expression of design in the current Lexus range. The fluid lines, the large spindle...
 

Mercedes-Benz G 63 amg, Track Test
Mercedes-Benz G 63 amg, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.3
TOTAL SCORE: 64.7
Every so often, there are moments when we come across things that defy all explanation. Take the G-Class for instance – or rather the G-Wagen, as it’s fondly known. On paper, it makes no sense whatsoever for an average consumer...
 

Lamborghini Urus, Track Test
Lamborghini Urus, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:08.4
TOTAL SCORE: 64.7
The age-old Ferrari versus Lamborghini battle goes all the back to the very inception of Lamborghini. Legend has it Ferruccio Lamborghini went to Enzo Ferrari with a suggestion on how to improve the clutch of one of his machines...
 

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Track Test
Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:17.2
TOTAL SCORE: 64.8
Often referred to as ‘the best car in the world,’ the S-Class had to face a serious problem – every subsequent model, or even every update, has a lot to live up to. Well, the most recent update to the S-Class certainly lives up to its reputation...
 

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Track Test
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Track Test

LAP TIME: 01:19.8
TOTAL SCORE: 64.9
Since its launch in India, the Honda City became a dominant force in the midsize sedan segment. Now, while Maruti Suzuki attempted a few times to dethrone the City from its status, they never quite managed to succeed...
 

The Racers
Volkswagen Ameo Cup & Vento ITC, Track Test

VW Vento Cup LAP TIME: 01:09.7
VW Ameo Cup Lap Time: 01:09.9
It’s become a bit of a tradition at our mega test to have a proper racing machine present – courtesy of VW Motorsport – just to keep all the high-end machines on their toes...

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