Sunday, 29 June 2014

Ford Fiesta


One of the most anticipated vehicle from the 2014 Auto Expo that was concluded in the earlier months, Ford Fiesta Facelift has finally arrived in the country's car market. This time around, the company introduced this sedan model in three trim levels, which are Ambiente, Trend and Titanium. Powering this model series is the same old renowned 1.5-litre, TDCi (tubo charged direct injection) based diesel motor, which received a couple of very minor updates. It is capable of producing a maximum power of 89.75bhp in combination with a pounding 204Nm of peak torque, which is exactly 1bhp and 1Nm more than its predecessor. At the same time, this model costs low in maintenance as it requires service after every 10,000 kilometers, which will be a boon to the buyers. The company claims that this sedan can now produce a mileage of approximately 25 Kmpl, which makes it a tough competitor in this segment. This latest version comes with improved exteriors featuring a brand new radiator grille, bumper and a sleek bonnet. The side and rear profiles also gets some changes in the form of tweaked ORVMs, rear bumper and alloy wheels. The top end variants is bestowed with a set of star shaped, 15-inch, 5-twin spoke alloy wheels, which gives an urbane look to this sedan. However, the Trend and Ambiente variants come with traditional steel wheels featuring full wheel covers and radial tyres. Coming to the interiors, it received some minor tweaks with up-market finish that gives a refreshing new look to the stylish cabin.

There is a charcoal black and light earth grey color scheme given inside, which is complimented by metallic and chrome inserts. This sedan is a mix of advanced technology and comfort as it is bestowed with aspects like keyless entry and push button start along with an improved audio system and more. It comes with aspects like an emergency assist system, which enables you to connect with emergency services in the unlikely even of accident. Also, it features “AppLink” function that helps you to connect to your smartphone with a simple voice command without having to fumble through phone menus. As far as safety are concerned, this 2014 version is built on super strong boron steel, which is four times stronger than conventional high strength steel. It reinforces the body at key points, thereby it forms an extra level of protection to the passengers inside. This 2014 version also comes with a ultra-rigid safety cell that creates high level of inside protection and makes it a safe place to be in. All the variants in this series come with most crucial safety features like ABS with EBD, engine immobilizer, door reinforcements and several other such aspects. The company is also offering several attractive accessories as optional like leather/vinyl seat covers, sporty pedals, leather gear knob and numerous others.


The fuel economy of the new Fiesta as equally as good as the previous generation and now the economy is further enhanced on the facelift.

Powering this model series is the improved 1.5-litre TDCi diesel motor that received some minor tweaks. Ford India claims that this vehicle is now capable of producing a maximum mileage of approximately 25 kmpl (under standard conditions), which is a major improvement. At the same time it can deliver a minimum of 20 Kmpl in city traffic, which is satisfying.

Power of Ford Fiesta

 The oil burner on the Fiesta produce more power than their predecessors on paper and even the power difference shows.

The car maker has made some refinements to its 1498cc motor, which is incorporated with a common rail injection system. It allows the motor to unleash a maximum power of 89.75bhp that results in a peak torque of 204Nm, which is ideal for city roads.

Acceleration & Pick-Up

The acceleration of the new Fiesta is better than the previous Fiesta, and can be compared to competition. However, the drivability needs to improve.

This 2014 version of Ford Fiesta is blessed with a refined turbo charged diesel engine that comes incorporated with common rail fuel injection system. This 1.5-litre diesel mill has the ability to reach a top speed of approximately 160 Kmph . At the same time, it can reach a speed barrier of 100 Kmph in just about 12 seconds, which is fairly decent.

Ford Fiesta Exteriors

Ford Fiesta Exterior
The facelifted version of this 2014 Ford Fiesta comes with major cosmetic updates, especially in terms of exteriors. It looks refined in terms of style and appearance. To begin with the frontage, it comes with an Aston Martin inspired radiator grille that has horizontally positioned slats. It gets chrome treatment and is complimented by the company's logo fitted on it. Its bonnet too received a couple of character lines, which further adds to the style aspect. Apart from this, its headlight cluster gets a fox-eye shaped design and is equipped with twin chamber based bright reflector headlamps. The front bumper gets a sportier look as it has an in-built spoiler and a wide air dam. Both the fog light consoles and the air dam have been re-treated, which gives a fresh new look to its frontage.Coming to the side profile, its body colored external wing mirrors are slightly modified and equipped with a turn blinkers. Apart from this, the wheel arches are now fitted with a set of newly designed 5-twin spoke, 15-inch alloy wheels. However, the base and the entry level trims are offered with conventional steel wheels. The window waistline has a chrome treatment, while the sills and the B-pillars are in black color. Coming to the rear end, this sedan comes with a slightly wider taillight cluster featuring bright lamps and turn indicators. Its tailgate gets a minor update with an expressive design and is decorated with the company's logo along with the variant badging. Its rear bumper has been revamped and is equipped with a pair of reflectors along with a chrome strip. It is also fitted with a black colored muffler that is further equipped with a exhaust pipe.

Ford Fiesta Interior

Ford Fiesta Interior
Editor's take : The interiors of the Fiesta are contemporary and unique. It gets a mobile-like centre-console with loads of buttons, which are a bit confusing initially. The space at the rear seat is a bit of an issue, especially the knee room.

The interiors of this latest version has been retained from its predecessor, but several features have been refined. Its interiors are done up with light earth grey and charcoal black color scheme, which is accentuated by chrome inserts. The design of the dashboard has been retained, but it gets an improved color scheme. Its central console and the instrumental panel comes with a glossy black finish, which is further complimented by illuminated switches. The inside door handles and the central console of the top end variant have royal black metallic paint, while the base variant gets Peggasus garnish. The dashboard has a dual tone color scheme with textured finish, which gives a magnificent look to the cabin. It is fitted with advanced aspects like an AC unit, music system and numerous other control switches. It also comes fitted with a storage compartment on driver and front passenger's side. The seats are ergonomically designed featuring integrated headrests and are further covered with premium quality fabric upholstery. Its rear seats have 100 percent folding facility, which helps in increasing the boot volume. This vehicle comes equipped with several utility based features including cup holders, accessory power sockets, glove box compartment, bottle holders, magazine pockets and numerous other such aspects.

Interior Comfort:

The manufacturer has equipped this facelifted sedan with several advanced comfort features, which provides a fatigue-free traveling experience. The entry level variant comes with a manually operated air conditioning system, while the Trend and Titanium variants have been equipped with automatic air conditioning system. It also comes with height adjustable driver's along with seat belts, which further enhances the convenience inside. Also, this facelift version comes with an intelligent rear defogger, which further adds to its safety quotient. The Ambiente and Trend variants have electrically adjustable ORVMs, while the top end variants also have wing mirrors with folding function. Some of the other features include all four power windows with one touch operation, guide-me home headlamps, 100 percent foldable rear seats, electric boot release and foot well lamps. The car maker is also offering a cruise control system that helps to maintain a set speed. Apart from these, this model series also comes with ambient lighting system, rain sensing wipers, push button start with keyless entry, fuel computer, digital clock and numerous other such aspects. In addition to these, the company has also incorporated SYNC, which features voice control system that allows you to gain access to any smartphone without having to fumble across its menus. This feature is only available in the top end Titanium variant. The car maker is offering an in-car entertainment system. It features an FM/AM Radio along with an MP3 player and six speakers. It also supports connectivity for portable USB and AUX-In devices, while the audio control switches have been mounted on the steering wheel. In addition to these, this model comes with an instrument panel that features a tachometer, digital trip meter, low fuel warning lamp and driver seat belt buzzer.

Engine and Performance

Ford Fiesta Engine
Editor's take : The 1.5-litre diesel mill on the Fiesta is a perfect blend of performance and fuel economy.

This latest version of Ford Fiesta comes equipped with a slightly tweaked 1.5-litre diesel engine, which is further incorporated with a turbo charging unit. This motor is based on single overhead camshaft valve configuration featuring four cylinders and eight valves. It has the ability to belt out a peak power of 89.75bhp at 3750rpm that results in a commanding torque output of 204Nm in the range of 2000 to 2750rpm . This TDCi engine is skillfully paired with a five speed manual transmission gearbox that allows the front wheels to draw torque output. As a result of changes made to the engine, its power is improved about 1bhp and its fuel economy has is increased to about 25 Kmpl, which is remarkable.

Stereo & Accessories

Ford Fiesta Accessories
Editor's take : The Fiesta comes loaded with integrated music system with Bluetooth, aux and USB inputs, cruise control and voice command system. The latter were first to be seen in this segment. The Fiesta also gets SYNC and push star and stop and keyless entry as the new features.

Apart from all these, the manufacturer is also providing several attractive accessories as option, which allows buyers to customize the vehicle as per their choice. The list includes a set of front fog lamp kit, sporty pedals, illuminated gear knob, baby seats and a set of designer alloy wheels. Apart from these, buyers can personalize the vehicle with several other features like floor mats, leather seat covers and navigation system . In terms of exteriors, it can be fitted with a deck-lid spoiler, side moldings, diffusers and several other styling aspects. Other such accessories include, car perfumes, woofer, rear parking camera, locking fuel plug, side window deflectors, cargo area protector, illuminated scuff plates, body decals and many other such added features, which will further add to the classiness of this sedan.


Ford Fiesta Wheels
As said above, the Ambiente and Trend variants have been blessed with a set of conventional 15-inch steel wheels, while the top end variant is blessed with a set of star-spoke design, 5-twin spoke 15-inch alloy wheels. These rims have been covered with high performance tubeless radial tyres of size 195/60 R15, which provides superior grip on roads.

Braking & Handling

Editor's take : The ride and handling characteristics of the Fiesta are brilliant. The ride is supple and the handling is one of the best in its segment.

This sedan's front wheels have been fitted with a set of high performance ventilated discs and the rear wheels have been fitted with conventional self adjusting drum brakes. This proficient braking mechanism is assisted by anti lock braking system and electronic brake force distribution , which prevents skidding on slippery roads. Furthermore, it also comes with an electric power assisted steering that supports a turning radius of 5.2 meters, which reduces the efforts required by driver while turning the car.

Safety and Security

Ford Fiesta Safety
Editor's take : The ride and handling characteristics of the Fiesta are brilliant. The ride is supple and the handling is one of the best in its segment.

All the variants in this model series have been equipped with advanced safety features that protects the occupants. The entry level variant comes with driver airbag, while the other two variants have dual front airbags. Also, this model series comes with energy absorbing bumpers and crumple zones along with door reinforcements, which absorbs most of the impact caused in case of any collision. In addition to these, this sedan has anti lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution, remote programmable key entry with greeting lamps, child lock for rear doors and central locking system for added safety. Apart from these, it is incorporated with an engine immobilizer unit that restricts unauthorized access to the vehicle.

Pros & Cons

Ford Fiesta Pros :

1. Refined exteriors gives it a brand new look.
2. Engine power and performance is better.
3. Low cost of maintenance is an added advantage.
4. Fuel economy is quite good.
5. Body strength is improved with Boron steel.

Ford Fiesta Cons :

1. Cost of ownership can be made competitive.
2. There is no music system in the base trim.
3. A few more comfort features can be added.
4. Low ground clearance is a disadvantage.
5. Engine noise, harshness can be reduced.




Saturday, 7 June 2014

2014 BMW 7-Series

The full-size 7-Series sedan is the largest and most luxurious model in BMW's lineup. Turbocharged engines with six, eight or twelve cylinders are available, as is a diesel-powered model, all-wheel-drive and an extended-wheelbase variant.
While the previous-generation 7-Series ushered in the controversial Bangle era of BMW styling, the latest model takes a much more conservative (and arguably elegant) approach while continuing to offer responsive driving dynamics along with an updated version of the automaker's iDrive infotainment system.
Recent Changes

The 7-Series benefits from a host of new standard equipment for the latest model year, including remote services, BMW Apps, real-time traffic information, BMW Assist eCall, BMW Online, BMW TeleServices and a dynamic instrument cluster. Additionally, the iDrive infotainment system now features a touchpad for "writing" numbers and letters for tasks like entering navigation destinations or saving phone numbers.
BMW gave the 7-Series a mid-cycle refresh for the previous model year. Enhanced powertrains, an upgraded infotainment system and a heavily revised ActiveHybrid 7 model were among the most significant updates for the sedan.

Outside, the styling changes of the updated 7-Series are decidedly subtle. The twin kidney grilles, which each feature nine slats in place of the previous 12, are now encased in larger chrome surrounds. The headlight design was tweaked, with adaptive LED units now on the options list. The full-width air intake in the lower front fascia was also redesigned and incorporates new fog lamps and chrome strips along its outer sections.

The cabin continues to follow in the BMW tradition of understated elegance coupled with simple, easily decipherable instruments and controls. The one control that provided a great deal of controversy when it made its debut in the last 7-Series - iDrive - has received a host of updates over the years that make it a relatively intuitive and user-friendly device. The electronic shifter, however, can take a little getting used to. The back seat, a major selling point for cars of this class, is suitably commodious, especially in extended wheelbase "L" form.
The navigation system was recently revised with crisper graphics and new 3D elements, and BMW has added an enhanced voice recognition system that allows the driver to dictate and send emails without removing his or her hands from the wheel.
Other nifty electronic touches include Remote Services, which lets smartphone users remotely start their car, turn on the A/C or, in the event of a crowded parking lot, honk the horn or flash the lights to locate the vehicle. BMW Apps lets passengers users access Facebook, Twitter, web radio services and more through iDrive, while BMW Online provides access to Google local search, restaurant and hotels guides, telephone directories and more.
Powertrain Updates

The 7-Series can be had with three gas-burning engines and a lone turbodiesel mill. Each drivetrain designated by a unique model name.
The "entry-level" 740i features a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six with 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. The mid-grade 750i employs a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with 445 ponies and 480 lb-ft. The range-topping 760Li boasts a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 that pumps out 535 horsepower and an impressive 550 lb-ft of torque. The big twelve-cylinder can propel the car to 60 mpg from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds.
All three motors are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the smaller two can be optioned with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
Fuel economy is rated at 19/28 city/highway mpg for all 740i variants (up from 17/25 mpg). The 750i returns 17/25 mpg, while the 750i xDrive, 750Li and 750Li xDrive return 16/24 mpg. The 760Li is good for 13/20 mpg.
The oil-burning 740Ld xDrive is powered by a version of the 3.0-liter TwinPower straight-six turbodiesel engine found in numerous members of BMW's European lineup. For use in the U.S.-spec 7 it is tuned to churn out 255 horsepower and a V8-like 413 lb-ft. of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The gobs of torque produced by the straight-six enable the heavy 740Ld xDrive to reach 60 mph from a stop in about 6.1 seconds.Though its size and weight prevent it from cornering with the zeal of a 3-Series, the 7-Series still provides accurate steering along with a good tradeoff between ride comfort and handling.
High Tech Barrage: Driving Dynamics Control, Eco Pro, Coasting Modes and Dynamic Damper Control

All 7-Series models boast a Driving Dynamics Control system that allows the driver to personalize a wide-range of the car's systems to suite his or her tastes, including accelerator response, engine response, power steering characteristics, stability control thresholds, transmission and damper settings and more.

Drivings Dynamics Control offers five pre-set settings, with Eco Pro being the most notable. Eco Pro optimizes a host of vehicle elements, such as the powertrain and programming of the heating and air conditioning, heated seats and exterior mirror heating, to operate with maximum efficiency. When used in conjunction with an efficient driving style (which the system actually offers tips for), Eco Pro can help reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent, BMW says. Eco Pro also features a coasting mode that decouples the engine when coasting at speeds between 30-100 mph.
It wouldn't be a full-size German luxury sedan without a world-first feature, and the BMW says this requisite distinction is provided by a Dynamic Damper System. Standard throughout the lineup, the system is reportedly the first electronically controlled damping system with shock absorbers that are adjusted individually at each wheel based on the condition of the road surface and the driving style.
Standard and Optional Features

All 7-Series models come standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a navigation system with voice command functionality, genuine wood trim, a moonroof, a rear parking camera, dynamic cruise control, a proximity key, a 10-speaker, 205-watt AM/FM/CD sound system with Sirius Satellite Radio, HD Radio and AUX and USB inputs, a 20 GB hard drive, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and four-zone automatic climate control.
Highlights from the options list, which approaches the length of the Illiad, include heated rear seats, soft-close automatic doors, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, a Head-Up display, a rear entertainment system with dual LCD screens and a four-wheel steering system that provides heightened maneuverability at low speeds and greater stability at high speeds. Also available is a power trunk that can be opened or closed by making a kicking motion under the bumper - it's especially handy for times when one's hands are full.
An available M Sport package brings an aerodynamic kit with aggressive front and rear bumpers, 19-inch wheels, Shadowline exterior trim, anthracite headliner and an M Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters.
Occupant Safety

Every 7-Series model is equipped with dual front, side and side curtain airbags along with traction and stability control systems and a crash sensor that disconnects the alternator, fuel pump and starter from battery, automatically unlocks doors and turns on hazard and interior lights in the event of a collision.
For longer journeys, an Attention Assistant feature evaluates the driver's control inputs and issues an encouragement to rest if it detects signs of fatigue.
Even more safety features can be had with the driver assistance package, which brings an active blind spot warning system and a lane departure warning system with Collision Mitigation (which applies the brakes when an impending collision is detected). The package also includes side and top view camera, which provide extra side-view visibility, and Speed Limit Info, which displays the local speed limit at the top of the instrument panel.

Key Competitors

In the market for a king-sized sedan full of luxury and technology? Before you sign on the dotted line for a new 7-Series, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte deserve a close look, too.
Rivals to the ActiveHybrid 7 include the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-in Hybrid and the Lexus LS 600h L.
Those who are more interested in saving fuel than having a hybrid badge on their sedan's decklid should check out the Audi A8 L TDI diesel, which bests all of the aforementioned models with an impressive 36 mpg highway rating.




Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New Mercedes C-Class review, test drive

 The all-new C-class looks like a baby S-class. Can it become the instant class benchmark just  like its big sibling did?

Luxury car buyers are in for a bit of a treat; the new Mercedes C-class is headed here towards the end of the year, and the good news is that it is really special. Packing stunning looks, a cracking interior and loads of high tech into one package, the C-class promises to be every first-time Merc buyer’s dream. But is it that good?

It certainly has the right stuff in the looks department. Looking very similar to the new S-class from several angles, the new C-class combines perfect proportions, crisp details and fluid lines to deliver a knockout punch. Of the two, the traditional and sporty grilles, we in India are likely to get the latter. As with most Mercedes cars, the grille forms the focal point  of the design. Set low, the lines of the car then follow the heavily inclined front windscreen, tight-fitting roof and compact rear section, giving the new C-class a really sporty profile. The rear of the car also looks a lot like that of the new S-class, which is great, if you are a C-class customer. But whichever way you look at it, this is one of the most attractive new Mercedes-Benz cars to be launched in the last few years. 

What’s it like to drive?

The new C-class also feels like a breath of fresh air from behind the wheel. Steering the car now feels light and effortless and the controls operate in a very slick and effortless manner. This makes the new C-class is a breeze to manoeuvre even in tight traffic, as you can go from one extreme to the other very quickly and easily.

What also helps relax the driver is the fact that this steering is as accurate as an Olympic archer. All you need to do to steer the car into a corner is give it a flick of the wrist. It is so accurate, you almost never need a secondary movement of the steering wheel to adjust the line the car has chosen. In Sport mode, the steering also weighs up and feels a bit heavier, which feels nice. As you go faster, you also realise that there is a lot of grip on hand, especially from the front wheels, and this makes it easy to carry a lot of speed into corners. The C-class, however, isn’t as nice to drive as the BMW 3-series. The steering feels a bit too light and disconnected from the road once you up the pace and, despite having a lot of grip, you don’t enjoy driving fast as much as you should.  

The cars we drove were fitted with air springs, and set in Comfort mode, ride quality was really absorbent. The C-class glides over small and medium bumps in total calm, and it also feels totally silent on the inside as well. As you go a bit faster and encounter bigger bumps, the suspension does feel a bit too soft. The car rocks back and forth a bit and there is a bit of American-car-like float as well. This can be sorted out quite easily by moving into Sport mode, which makes things a bit firmer. However, as with the Indian E-class, Indian C-classes are likely to come with only coil springs as against air springs. 

The C 220 CDI diesel engine has been updated for the new C-class. It now feels like it has more grunt, especially at low speeds, and the car gets moving from rest with just a tap on the throttle. Squeezing the throttle further delivers another corresponding increase in pace, which feels great. The new C, as a result, feels quick off the mark and this characteristic gels really well with the effortless nature of the car. There’s no doubt the new C-class is in its element being driven in a relaxed manner, the car delivering a very strong E-class vibe.

The cloak of refinement is, however, somewhat ruptured when you spin the engine faster The engine, at higher speeds, feels strained, sounds loud and the performance delivered after a point tapers off. This is a bit disappointing. You soon learn to drive around the problem and avoid spinning the engine hard unless you absolutely have to.   

The 208bhp C 250 petrol, in contrast, is an oasis of calm. The engine is really silent at almost all speeds, and what makes it even nicer is that the new chassis is super silent and refined too. Road noise is considerably reduced and the suspension functions very silently too, so the petrol-powered car feels particularly quiet on the move. What’s great is that the smooth pulling power and languid pace of the car also encourage you to drive it in a brisk but relaxed manner. There’s also plenty of power on hand when the engine is pulled harder. There’s a sporty snarl when you put your foot down and the bursts of acceleration are good enough to make you want to drive quicker and quicker.

What’s it like on the inside?

Arguably the most impressive part of the car, however, are its interiors.  To begin with, the cabin feels spacious, open and crisply styled. There’s as much space here as in the very spacious BMW 3-series, and the compact seats also allow you plenty of space at the rear. Getting in and out of the back seat is very easy as well; the doors open wide, you have plenty of space between the front and rear seat due to the really long wheelbase, and the backrest is angled nicely. The rear bench, however, doesn’t provide enough thigh support; it is a bit low and that means this isn’t as good as it could be.

The dashboard, however, is exceptional. The design is fresh, beautifully detailed and well crafted and the layered effect that the designers have going works a treat. There’s new bits wherever you look: the plank-like centre console, the pop-out chrome vents, the chromed buttons and the big screen all work well. And panel gaps and fit are almost as good as those on more expensive cars. Mercedes designers have also excelled at delivering a super combination of materials that provides yet another lift to the cabin. The leather is beautifully stitched, the shiny and dull bits of metal are nicely blended together, and there are almost no cheaply built plastics around. 

Functionality is also very impressive. The touchpad on the centre console is standard on all cars, and while it does feel a bit strange at first, you soon get used to it. After that, the speed with which you can use it makes it almost as nice to use as a touchscreen. For those who prefer a more traditional control scheme, there’s the usual chrome COMAND wheel as well. There’s also a large screen between the dials that displays loads of information.

The new C-class delivers on its promise. A clear step up from its predecessor, it genuinely feels a generation ahead. It has a proper luxury car feel, comfort levels are much higher than the outgoing car, and quality is good enough for something twice its price. The diesel engine may sound a bit coarse when pulled hard and it may not be as nice to drive as some of the competition; but these factors aren’t likely to matter too much. The C-class now delivers as much luxury and pampering as is possible at this price, and that’s exactly what buyers are likely to appreciate.

Fact File

Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex-showroom priceRs 35-45 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom)
InstallationFront, longitudinal, rear-wheel drive
Type4 cyls, 1991cc, DOHC turbo petrol / 4 cyls, 2143cc commonrail turbo diesel
Power208bhp at 5500rpm / 168bhp at 3000-4200rpm
Torque35.7kgm at 1200-4000rpm / 40.8kgm at 1400-2800rpm
Gearbox7-speed automatic
Boot volume480 litres
Chassis & Body
Weight1480 / 1570kg