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NOW, THE REGIONS BEST AUTOMOTIVE RESOURCE

DEC 2013

ISSUE NO 148

2013

2014 NISMO GT-R 2014 AUDI R8 V10 PLUS 2014 TOYOta COrOLLa

MIDDLE EAST EXCLUSIVE FIRST DRIVES!

2013 DUBAI & TOKYO MOTOR SHOWS:  FULL REPORT INSIDE | 2014 CAdILLAc CTS: THE SEDAN GERMANS SHOULD BE WARY OF

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COVERSTORY |

Touch of Nismo
With the hottest 2014 Nismo GT-R in Japan

FIRSTDRIVE |

34

All-new 11th generation 2014 Toyota Corolla gets bigger and trendy

40

52

62

in this issue
CONTENT METER
0

NEXT ISSUE 2014 PoRScHe cAYmAn S

COVER STORY 40-45 2014 AUDI R8 V10 PLUS 46-51 2014 NISMO GT-R OMAN NEWS 6 OMAN LAUNCH OF BENTLEY FLYING SPUR,

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DODGE VIPER GTS, BMW X5, CHERY E5. OMAN TRAFFIC WEEK CELEBRATIONS., LAMBORGHINI VENENO PUBLIC DEBUT IN UAE

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8-9 AUTOMAN 2013 COTY FINALISTS REGIONAL NEwS FEATURE 12-25 2013 DUBAI MOTOR SHOW BRANDwATCH 24-25 2013 JD POWER SALES SATISFACTION 30

INDEX: MINI TOPS AGAIN, LIMITED EDITION

HOT HATCH TO SIGN OFF RENAULTS 2013 F1 VICTORY, MCLAREN DESIGNER WANTS GOLF RIVAL, DESIGNER RICE REjOINS MAZDA AFTER 13 YEARS WITH BMW, ALL-NEW NISSAN QASHqAI REVEALED IN LONDON, TOYOTA GT 86 TO BE PRIMED FOR RALLY CAREER, AWARD FOR PETER SCHREYER, FORD TEASES NEXT GEN KA/FIGO AS A CONCEPT

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INTERNATIONAL NEwS 26-39 TOKYO AUTOSHOW FULL REPORT TESTED 52-55 2014 CADILLAC CTS 56-60 2014 TOYOTA COROLLA fIRST RIDES 62-65 2014 ROYAL ENFIELD CONTINENTAL GT 66-69 2014 HARLEY-DAVIDSON RANGE TESTED PREVIEwS 70-71 CHEVROLET TRAX 72-73 FORD ATLAS CONCEPT 74-75 MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS COUPE MOTORSPORTS 76-79 FORMULA ONE, REGIONAL NEWS 80 CHICANE

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26
cars, ction u d o r ideas Star p s and wild Motor pt ai conce d Dub n a o y @ Tok Shows

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IN UAE

CONCEPT

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Mohammad Al Taie

2013

AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING PO Box: 343, Postal Code 118 Al Harthy Complex Sultanate of Oman Email: automan@alroya.net Website: www.automanweb.com Editorial office: Tel: +968 24479888 Extn 300, Fax: +968 24479889 Distribution: Tel: +968 24490386, Fax: +968 24121045 Subscription: Tel: +968 24493701, Fax: +968 24121045 publIsHER Hatim Al Taie EDITOR & GM Raj Warrior

As we come to the last issue of yet another eventful year, we can say that its been a good one both for us as Omans only car magazine and for the industry here that we serve as a masthead. And if the indications of the past few months are anything to go by, the next year looks like it will be a bumper year in terms of models reaching the market and a renewed interest in buying new cars. And in the spirit of keeping on top of the cars that will reach our region in the coming months we have the most comprehensive coverage of the Dubai and Tokyo motorshows as well as a preview of the Los Angeles show. The Dubai show served as a reminder of better times in the commercial heartland of the region, with a comprehensive attendance by brands and visitors although you could see that economy measures were still in place all around. Some interesting cars could hit showrooms if you see what was on offer at Dubai although cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C, the Lykan Hypersports and the McLaren P1 may not exactly scorch the roads on Oman too soon. There is of course the crop of regular cars that most of us buy like the new Corolla, which we have an exclusive drive of (on the cover) as well as the unveiling of the Infiniti Q50 in the region. In the meantime, as part of an extended visit to Japan, our editors write about the Tokyo motorshow and another exclusive drive of the new 2015 Nissan GT-R and the Nismo version as well. Closer to home, we drive the 2014 variants of a whole host of models from Audi, Cadillac and even two completely distinct bike brands Harley-Davidson and Royal Enfield. As usual, Automan has the most comprehensive collection of original automotive and analytic stories of any publication in the region. Another feature to look forward to in 2014 is our increased thrust towards becoming the most preferred digital medium as well. In addition to expanding our existing web site and social networking, we will offer a mobile centric delivery of content as well as focus more on video. So our readers will have a lot more to look forward to in 2014.

hatim@alroya.net

raj@alroya.net

EXECuTIVE EDITOR Chandan B Mallik chandan@alroya.net CONTRIbuTINg EDITOR Anne Kurian annekurian@alroya.net HEAD OF DEsIgN Sawsan Al Muharbi sawsan@alroya.info pHOTOgRapHy Elvis John Ferrao maRkETINg Sayantani Ghosh sayantani@alroya.net CIRCulaTION books@alroya.net FINANCE & ADMIN Sumy Mol

sumy@alroya.net

WEbsITE & IT Mohammed F Draz mohammed.draz@alroya.net PRINTER Ruwi Modern Printers LLC Tel: +968 2479 4167, 2479 8157 Fax: +968 2470 0545 2013 All editorial content of Automan in the magazine and its website is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the management of AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING Automan accepts unsolicited exclusive editorial material, but reserves the right to publish any such material. Once published, the copyright for any such material will vest with AL ROYA PRESS & PUBLISHING

Oman

WARM wELCOME FOR NEw BENtLEY FLYING SPUR IN OMAN The all-new 2014 Bentley Flying Spur was launched at the new [but temporary] Azaibah showroom. Bentley executives from UK also attended the event.

DOdGE VIPER GTS ARRIvEs IN OMAN The fifth generation of Viper GTS made its debut in Oman last month. The Street and Racing Technology (SRT) treated car offers more power and performance, new technologies and creature comforts. Dhofar Automotive, celebrated the arrival of the Viper with a media launch event at Bait AlZubair Museum, and was attended by Jack Rodencal, managing director of Chrysler Group Middle East and Dhofar Automotive officials. Performance ratings for the SRT-engineered V10 Viper are 640hp and 600lb.-ft. of torque - the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world and hence it gets a manual 6-speed transmission only.

NEWS

Chery introduces new E5 sedan The Chery E5 is Cherys latest economy sedan for domestic and export markets. This new model benefits from Cherys new design theme for their Chery range of vehicles that will make them somewhat different from their other domestic Riich branded sedans. The company is confident that this model will prove a worthy competitor to B-segment models such as the Chevrolet Sonic, Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio. For the Oman market, it will be offered with 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine mated to CVT transmission.

All-new BMW X5 SUV now in Oman The third-generation X5 SUV once again hints at BMWs intention to offer tougher competition. The new SUV comes with evolutionary design features, spacious interior and increased driving comfort. For the first time, the X5 will be available with a choice of new suspension packages namely Comfort, Dynamic, Professional and Adaptive M Suspension. Under the bonnet sits a newly enhanced engine variant, the BMW X5 xDrive50i with a new generation of the V8 petrol engine (450 hp), 10 per cent more power power than the predecessor X5 model. The smaller 306 hp V6 in the X5 xDrive35i variant will be introduced in February 2014. Both engines are mated to eight-speed automatic gearbox with additional BMW EfficientDynamics technology package that includes Auto Start Stop function, ECO PRO mode including coasting function and Proactive Driving Assistant. The new X5 is also equipped with xDrive full-time intelligent all-wheel drive. The Oman launch also saw a dynamic session at Seebs new off-road track.

CMost of the retail partners took part in this initiative and heres a look of who did what General Automotive Company (GAC) The official dealer of Mitsubishi cars and trucks in Oman announced a digital road-safety initiative on their official Facebook page. This initiative is aimed to increase awareness about the vitality of exercising caution while on the road, and the site also engages directly with customers and fans, inviting ideas around the cause. Towell Auto Centre The sole distributors of Geely Emgrand in Oman had a stall at the Expo venue. The Emgrand stall was part of the kids zone where children were taught key traffic rules by ROP personnel, such as how to use a pedestrian crossing safely and how to react at the traffic lights; as well as emphasised the importance of using seat belts while driving. As part of the events proceedings, children were also encouraged to participate in a colouring activity and games with a road safety theme. Al Jenaibi International Automobiles The focus of the authorized BMW Group dealership was more on safety by educating visitors about fake and counterfeit parts. BMWs Stay Alert. Stay Alive. awareness programme was originally launched in 2010 to enlighten the public on the importance of using appropriate safety restraints for children travelling by car was also promoted.

Lamborghinis most expensive 3mn Euros Veneno Roadster will make its public debut on board the Italian naval aircraft carrier Nave Cavour on 1 December 2013. The car will be at an exclusive Italian evening event, to be attended by VIPs, customers and media.The limited edition super sports car, of which only nine will be produced, will be formally unveiled on the flight deck of the 240m ship while docked in Abu Dhabis Mina Zayed port

www.automanweb.com

DEC 2013

DEC 2013

4.6 L, V8 Engine, 306 HP

5.7 L, V8 Engine, 383 HP

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Presenting the All New Lexus GX and LX Sport the hallmarks of exceptional performance and luxury. The GX Sport with its stunning new looks and signature front spindle grille is engineered to extract maximum performance so you reach an entirely new level of driving pleasure. The LX Sport with its distinctive honeycomb design grille, impressive LED fog lamps, front and rear bumper spoiler is one of the most capable 4WDs ever built. The LX Sport displays an extraordinary level of renement. Drive the All New GX or LX Sport, the most advanced luxury SUVs and experience unstoppable 4WD performance.

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FIFTY SIx HoT CARS SHoRTLISTeD FoR THIS YeARS eDITIon


Its taken the Automan team more than a calendar year and thousands of kilometers and various geographical locations to test and evaluate the shortlisted candidates for the third edition of COTY in 2013. From hundreds of cars driven overall with some intense competition within the class/segment categories, the task has been Herculean. With grit, determination and strict time guidelines set, we are happy to present the compilation of vehicles that have made it to this round. Following is the list of editorial nominees and participant recommendations. And the final list of winners will be announced in the third week of next month. So, stay tuned for the final results and also follow developments on www.automanweb.com as we break news.

2013

2014 Nismo GT-R

PERFORMANCE CAR

2014 AUDI R8 V10 PLUS

PERFORMANCE CAR

2014 Cadillac CTS

PremIUm CAR

2014 Toyota Corolla

MIDsIZe CAR

2014 Bentley Flying Spur

LUXUrY CAR

2014 Maserati Quattroporte S

LUXUrY CAR

2014 RR Drophead coupe

LUXUrY CAR

2014 lexus lx570

PremIUm SUV

2014 RR Wraith

LUXUrY CAR

2014 Porsche Panamera

PremIUm CAR

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DEC 2013

2014 toyota Yaris

Small Car

2014 Toyota Land Cruiser

LarGe SUV

2014 McLaren MP-4 12C Spider

PERFORMANCE CAR

2014 Bentley GTC Speed

PERFORMANCE CAR

2014 Nissan Tiida

Small Car

2014 Mazda 6

MIDsIZe CAR

2014 Kia Cadenza

LarGe CAR

2014 Audi A3

PremIUm CAR

2014 RangeRover Sport

Performance SUV

2014 Mercedes S-Class

LUXUrY CAR

2014 Audi S6

PremIUm CAR

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

MIDsIZe SUV

2014 Lexus IS350

PremIUm CAR

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

MIDsIZe SUV

2014 Chevrolet Impala

LarGe CAR

DEC 2013

www.automanweb.com

2014 Audi A6

PremIUm CAR

2014 BMW 7-series

LUXUrY CAR

2014 Hyundai Centennial

PremIUm CAR

2014 Mercedes E-class

MIDsIZe CAR

2013 BYD S6

Small SUV

2014 Jaguar F-type

SporTs CAR

2014 VW GOLF GTI

HoT HaTch

2013 RR Phantom Coupe

LUXUrY CAR

2013 Audi Q5

PremIUm SUV

2013 Porsche Cayman

SporTs CAR

2013 Jaguar XF 2.0

PremIUm CAR

2013 Mercedes A-class

HoT HaTch

2013 VW Polo Sedan


10 www.automanweb.com

Small Car

2013 Aston Martin Vanquish

PERFORMANCE CAR

2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

PERFORMANCE CAR

DEC 2013

2013 GMC Terrain

MIDsIZe SUV

2013 Alfa Romeo Guilietta

HoT HaTch

2013 Volvo V40

HoT HaTch

Lambo Aventador Roadster

PERFORMANCE CAR

2013 VW Golf

HOT HaTch

2013 Infiniti FX50 SV

PERFORMANCE SUV

2013 Nissan Pathfinder

MIDsIZe SUV

2013 Toyota Avalon

LarGe CAR

2013 Mitsu Lancer Fortis

Small CAR

2013 Bentley GT Speed

PERFORMANCE CAR

2013 Mini Coupe

HoT HaTch

2013 Toyota Rav4

Small SUV

2013 Cadillac ATS

PremIUm CAR

2013 KIA Quoris

PremIUm CAR

2013 Peugeot 301


DEC 2013

Small CAR

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11

SHoWSToPPeRS AT 2013 DuBAI InTeRnATIonAL MoToR SHoW


The 12th edition of the Dubai International Motor Show was officially opened by HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. Besides the regional launches and premieres, the show attracted 15 concept cars from global brands and some new first timers.
Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Author and Raj Warrior

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DEC 2013

few editions ago, Dubais bi-annual international motor show was considered as the equivalent of Geneva in the Middle East till the global economic downturn took its toll. Since then, the show has been ticking on and this years edition, by far was much improved in terms of participation and content. As some of the Middle East markets have begun to stabilize, automakers can find some relief in that aspect and that confidence was quite evident at some of the stands at this years edition of the Dubai motor show. In our October issue of Automan, we were able to provide a sneak preview of the fascinating world of motoring that was to grace the regions biggest show including some predictions. We are quite pleased to note that most of our predictions were correct. Interestingly, quite a few high profile executives were at the show on press day and each took the opportunity to either promote their respective brand and products. Also interesting was the interest from foreign media in the regions hottest show. Heres our post show report in order of appearances made.

AstON MARtIN
What does the CEO of a loss make company have to say? Nothing much really! CEO Ulrich Bez read out his speech from a smart phone and seemed totally disconnected with the audience and refused to take our questions after the press conference! This year, Aston Martin is celebrating its centenary with the debut of the CC100 Speedster Concept and that was the only car worth mentioning. We are aware that just two units of the CC100 Speedster Concept are being built with both are already sold. The Speedster pays homage to Aston Martins historic Le Mans winning DBR1 sports car. It seems that this British carmaker is focusing more on racing activity in other markets. No word or hint came from Bez about the Lagonda SUV project or any other future product outcome from the alliance with Daimler. And unlike before, there were no near production concepts or limited edition cars like the One-77 or V12 Zagato on offer. Saving grace was perhaps the debut of the new Vanquish Volante in the region for the first time. In a new direction, Aston Martin also launched its new Q Personalisation service for the region, highlighted by a striking black DB9 with special Q plate and the restored Mark II DB6 Vantage looked very much for the occasion.

AUdI
Audi kept the audience entertained with a couple of reveals and in sync with our predictions. The bonus was the presence of Audis contracted track racing driver Dindo Capello who helped unveil the three shrouded cars in the midst of a choreographed presentation. Italian Capello has won everything under the sign of the four rings: Championship titles in super touring cars, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, American Le Mans Series and big endurance races like the 12 hours of Sebring or the Petit Le Mans race. All the three unveils, S3 sedan, RS 6 Avant and RS 7 were corrected predicted by us!

DEC 2013

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BMW
Compared to previous Dubai motor show editions, this years floor area occupied by BMW and MINI combine was less. Besides the new X5 SUV and a long wheel based 7 Series with an M badge for the first time was fresh from its Frankfurt unveiling in September also the i8 hybrid sportscar making its formal Middle East debut. The i8 will go on sale in May 2014 at select dealerships.

BENtLEY
Bentley has been quite busy this year and its stand highlighted the newly launched Flying Spur alongside the GT Speed variants. Another model worth mentioning was the Mulsanne Shaheen special edition. Named for and inspired by the Shaheen eagle, the special Mulsanne is distinguished by two-tone Tungsten and Onyx paint, with Magnolia and Beluga leather and dark burr walnut trim inside. It comes already upgraded to the Mulliner Driving Specification, which includes 21in alloys, diamond-quilted leather and adjustable suspension and steering.

BUGAttI
Bugatti has been focusing on exclusivity for several years and the presentation in Dubai was no exception. Key highlight for the brand at the show was a new Bugatti special edition, the Bugatti Legend Meo Costantini Grand Sport Vitesse. The car is the third of six planned special edition Veyrons celebrating the men that have shaped Bugattis history. The first rendition was that of Jean-Pierre Wimille [revealed back in August], followed by the Jean Bugatti edition a month later. As part of the continuity, the Meo Costantini is dedicated to Bartolomeo Costantini, born in 1889, who served as Bugattis head of motorsport for an eight-year stint as a racing driver and advisor. As a member of the factory racing team in 1925 and 1926, he won the Targa Florio in Sicily. In 1926, he also drove to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix and the Grand Prix of Milan, and took second place in Monza. Shortly afterwards he ended his active racing career in order to manage the Bugatti racing team, a post which he held from 1927 until 1935. The body of the Meo Costantini special edition is primarily constructed of carbon fiber. The wings, doors and corners of the front bumper are rendered in aluminium. The blue paintwork on the carbon fiber parts references Frances classic motorsport color, as well as the Bugatti Type 35 race car which Costantini achieved almost all of his victories in.

CAdILLAC
Cadillac had two big unveils at the show. First was the all-new 2014 CTS, the third generation of the mid-size sedan. New to the CTS line-up is refined styling, premium interiors and a host of engineering upgrades and extended engine family including the 2.0-litre turbocharged in-line four cylinder. The second car was the top of the line new Escalade SUV which was also revealed to select media and dealers at the Armani hotel a night before the show. The new Escalade now gets softer sheetmetal treatment, lots of new jewelry and Burj Khalifa inspired tail lamps according to Ed Welburn, GMs design guru.

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GMC
A teaser trailer prior to the show guaranteed quite a bit of Middle East interest in GMCs Yukon which was introduced with three new packages, including the mid-range XL and the top spec Denali.

CHEvROLEt
As expected, all the GMs brands had something to offer and the bow-tie brand staged several impressive regional unveils. First wraps came off the 2015 Tahoe full-size SUV the all-new version of the brands best-selling utility model in the Middle East. It offers more functionality, greater refinement, new safety features and an increased range of advanced technologies. The second star of the show was the C7 Corvette Stingray sports car and the third one had global significance in form of the compact crossover Trax SUV.

CHRYsLER GROUP
Chrysler Group Middle East had a big stand area wise and the PR claimed five exclusive show reveals, but it failed to keep up with its usual hype and hoopla. Many a shade paler than domestic counterparts Ford or GM at Dubai, new introductions included the new Viper GTS, an oddly placed new Cherokee at the stand. Only the Alfa Romeo 4C seemed to be the star attraction. Meanwhile, Fiats performance arm Abarth had a display which appeared low-key and to be honest when compared to other stands [including Chinese], the overall presentation was not like previous editions with cost cutting quite evident in the set up.

DEC 2013

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FERRARI
Besides, the regular line-up, former Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella was on-hand to pull the wraps off the new Ferrari 458 Speciale. In his career, Fisichella has worked with Ferrari, Sauber, Renault/Benetton, Jordan and Minardi as well as current GT racer with AF Corse. The 458 special edition variant is a faster, more dynamic variant of the now four-year old model and comes to the region for the first time. The absence of the 950bhp LaFerrari hypercar was greatly felt and made up to some extent by the F12 Berlinetta.

HONdA
Hondas refreshed line-up was in full glory and the 11-car display along with a classic racer put in an impressive overall display for the brand. While, ASIMOs [Hondas humanoid robot] antics were missed, one didnt miss the new alloy wheels in cars like the Civic or Accord. Finally, Honda seems to be making up for lost time!

FORd
Ford continues strongly with its One Ford theme and at Dubai it had a strong and entertaining presence. Cars launched included the all-new Fusion, Atlas pick-up concept and for the first time, the Fiesta-based India-built Ecosport crossover SUV.

HYUNdAI
For Middle East markets, Hyundai didnt offer any new models, but the South Korean carmaker did focus on what it plans for future. In that respect, the HCD 14 concept gave an idea about the forthcoming Genesis design and Hyundai has also promised that the technological and reliability aspects from its motorsport division from the experience with the i20 WRC programme will directly benefit consumers in the long run. Among the regional premieres were the Veloster turbo variant and the 2014 Centennial Limousine.

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DEC 2013

JAGUAR
Jaguars stand this year was among the best in terms of content and presentation. The deep blue C-X17 concept SUV looked pretty impressive when Jaguar unveiled it in Frankfurt a couple of months ago. In Dubai, it was presented in liquid aluminium metal finish. The C-X17 has been created as a design study to introduce Jaguars all-new advanced aluminium architecture, on which an exciting new range of future Jaguars will be built, beginning with a new mid-sized C/D segment sedan in 2015. Besides, the concepts, two new Jaguar R models, the 550PS XJR, and the XFR-S signed off for the brand besides the regular line-up.

INFINItI
The luxury brand of Nissan had an elaborate light and sound programme. The all-new Q50 sedan was elegantly introduced to the press. The official description about the new Infiniti Q50 is that it stretches the boundaries of what a sports sedan can be, propelling Infiniti in a bold new direction. The car reflects the direct influence of the Infiniti concepts known as the Infiniti Trilogy, particularly Essence, while honouring the iconic design dynamics of earlier Infiniti sports sedans. The new Q50s athletic and tightened appearance blends its lower and wider proportions with enhanced interior roominess to stunning effect inside and out.

KIA
Kia Motors introduced the refreshed Optima and new Koup. These unveils tried to infuse some youthfulness as part of the communication if you consider the colours and metallic foiling of some of the cars on display. The all-new two-door Kia Koup oasts European-inspired design and performance to match.

MAZdA
Mazda may have less number of models to talk about when compared to other Japanese brands, but clearly the Hiroshima-based brand is riding on the success of its Kodo designs and efficient Skyactiv technologies. Besides these, the big news was the debut of the much awaited Mazda3.

LAMbORGHINI
Lamborghinis farewell Gallardo model, the LP 570-4 Squarda Corse that debuted in Frankfurt may have been absent in Dubai, but the other models in the line-up we think were good enough to attract crowds. In the red corner was the 700hp Aventador LP 700-4 and the other corner was represented by the Aventador Roadster open top.
DEC 2013 www.automanweb.com 17

Lexus
Lexus revealed the stunning Lexus LF-LC Blue concept at the 2012 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney prior to Dubai. The stunning concept car which had its regional debut at the show, arguably, was the key show stopper for the brand as it represents two key messages one being the design direction and the other about application of hybrid technologies. The concept has been developed from the flagship LFA sportscar and comes with a carbon aluminium composite body, curvy bodylines with L-shaped headlamps and vertical fog lamps. Besides that, theres a panaromic glass roof, jet afterburner-inspired tail lamps, quad exhausts, and polished aluminium trim. Although powertrain details were not released, what we know is that the cars new platform is designed to accommodate the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Dubbed Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive, the system features a powerful and efficient Atkinson cycle combustion engine which is mated to an advanced high-energy battery pack. The high-energy battery pack is designed to deliver greater power from a smaller battery than those currently used in Lexus range of hybrid vehicles. We think the car displayed at the motor show represents a step further toward production and eventual sale for a car based on the 372kW hybrid super-coupe.

LANd ROvER
The Range Rover Autobiography edition was the tops for the brand in Dubai. The limited edition Land Rover Defender LXV also made its first appearance for these markets. Built specifically to mark the brands 65th anniversary in April, the model takes up the standard versions 2.2-litre diesel engine and six-speed manual transmission. Only 65 of these models will be built.

LINCOLN
A night before the Dubai show, Fords premium brand Lincoln unveiled to a select media gathering its MKC crossover concept. Lincoln is testing waters with this car as it wants to enter the premium luxury end of this fast growing crossover SUV market. Ford flew in Susan Lampinen, group chief designer, colour and material design to give an overview of the thinking thats gone in for the project including bespoke craftsmanship and new materials. At the stand, besides the MKC concept, was also the new MKZ sedan. From the media presentations we gather future Lincolns will offer three bespoke packages [experiences with the option of stunning, bespoke interior and exterior design appointments that will transcend typical luxury automotive standards, furthering the brands transformation. The MKC Concept showcased explored several of these creative ideas under the Black Label theme.

MAsERAtI
Maserati premiered three new models to the region at the show. The brand new Maserati Ghibli sports executive sedan was unveiled alongside by an acrobatic display. Launch programme also included the GranCabrio MC, two door, latest GranTurismo MC Stradale and all variants of the sixth generation Quattroporte.

MItsUbIsHI
As predicted by us, the new Outlander is finally here along with the Mirage hatchback. Also on the stands was a desert-kitted short wheel base Pajero.

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Mercedes-Benz
Just in his fifth day in the job, Daimler Middle East and Levants newly appointed director for sales and marketing, Dirk Fetzer [Frank Bernthalers replacement] was in an overdrive when presenting the two high performance Mercedes-AMGs, including the new A 45 AMG and the S 63 AMG. Meanwhile, a glimpse into the future design direction of Mercedes-Benz flagship S-Class luxury sedan was offered in the form of the Concept S-Class Coup, shown for the first time since its global unveiling at the recent Frankfurt. Traditionally the top of the Mercedes-Benz product range is occupied by the grand coup. Rest of the exhibits came from the regular line-up including the GLK, M-Class, 7-seater GL, and G-Class. The star attraction was the towering G 63 AMG 6X6 SUV-pick up. In all, Mercedes had 21 impressive cars on display.

MINI
MINI has been talking about its Not Normal campaign and evidence was there for all to see. In true MINI fashion, the brand chose an authentic way to display the new John Cooper Works versions of its Countryman and Paceman by virtually nailing a Cooper Cabrio Highgate to the wall.

MCLAREN
McLaren Automotives chief test driver Chris Goodwin unveiled the P1 at the show. Once you have driven the McLaren P1 you will see why this ultimate supercar cannot be compared to anything you have ever driven the McLaren P1 is without a doubt the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever, said Goodwin while explaining the philosophical and engineering concept of this car. Meanwhile, as we go to print, McLaren has sold all the 12 units of its plug-in hybrid P1 supercar before the production version was unveiled at this years Geneva Motor Show followed by its first Middle East public viewing in Dubai.

PORsCHE
Besides celebrating the anniversary of 911 and as expected the new Porsche 911 Turbo was brands star attraction. At the show it celebrated its 40th anniversary with the regions aficionados. It is the latest in a range of new 991 generation Porsches to make its regional debut. The Carrera 4 and GT3 models were also on display as part of the portfolio. The turbos regional debut comes after teaser images of a cabriolet version were released ahead of its planned arrival next year. Also sharing the stad space was the entire range of new Panameras, including the E-hybrid.

ROLLs ROYCE
Phantom Coup Chicane and diamond coated Celestial Phantom, the most expensive Rolls-Royce in history were among the key highlights besides the all-new Wraith and other models.

DEC 2013

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NIssAN
The full line-up was there and some special stand out models including a special edition Gold GT-R, commemorating and signed by 100m and 200m world record holder Usain Bolt, limited to 100 unit production Special Midnight Opal edition of the GT-R, refreshed mildy Patrols and a designer/ bespoke edition of a matt/satin black Patrol with red leather interiors. To ensure exclusivity, the Patrol Black is limited to just 200 units for production purposes. The other side of Nissans business is related to greener motoring and to this effect, Nissans displays were quite comprehensive and included the LEAF hatchback (Leading, Environmentally-friendly, Affordable Family vehicle), Pathfinder Hybrid and Smart Hybrid Taxi Concept which is powered by a 2.5-litre supercharged four-cylinder engine. the Pathfinder Hybrid represents what Nissan sees as the next gen SUV. The Smart Hybrid Taxi Concept uses the companys established S-Hybrid powertrain set-up.

TOYOtA
Toyotas stand was brimming with activity. From its current range and newly introduced models to simulators, there was something for everyone. The soon-to-arrive all-new 11th generation 2014 Corolla was presented as the key contender. However, the new Prado was elusive [weve come to know that it will debut in Los Angeles this month] at Dubai and the absence was somewhat made up by the open top version of the FT86 sports car.

MOtORCYCLEs
Mainstream Japanese brand Yamaha and Suzuki were present, thanks to their active partners. However, it was Avinton Motorcycles that caught our eyes. Avinton was found by a Frenchman Cedric Klein in 1999. Klein came up with his first motorcycle prototype and eventually created a track racer in 2008. The Avinton line-up consists of three motorcycles Collector GT, Race and Roadster. These handcrafted bikes have a unique yet practical design and their styling is intense and aggressive. Powering the motorcycles is a 1,640cc, air-cooled, 4-stroke, 45 degree V-Twin engine that produces 120hp and 165Nm of peak torque.

EMERGING CHINEsE
The growing clout of China-made cars is no secret anymore. In the region, we now have popular models from well-known Japanese brands made in China or Taiwan being retailed and some of them are doing quite well. Meanwhile, the domestic Chinese brands are also looking beyond their own shores in a bid to make a global presence. The gradual rise of the Chinese brands and the progress made in the past couple of years is something not to be ignored anymore. Once again, the Dubai show had quite an impressive array of Chinese brands led by BYD, Great Wall, JAC, Chery, Dongfeng and first time participant BAIC. Most of these brands put on an impressive display with their current line-up as well as new models. Surprisingly, Taiwans Intelligent Luxury brand Luxgen was absent in Dubai.

BAIC
Technically, this is the first official outing of the brand in the region and UAE-based Gargash Motors has signed an agreement with BAIC. The Chinese automaker introduced its A5 sedan and A1 series cars. BAIC is one of the five largest automotive groups in China with an over 50-year history and under its multibrand portfolio it has BAIC Motor, Foton, BAW, BBAC and BHMC. BAIC opted to make its world debut at the Dubai International Motor Show ahead of its participation in forthcoming shows in Russia, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

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BYD
Build Your Dreams or BYD is a familiar name in the region including Oman. BYDs recently refreshed line-up including the F3 sedan and S6 crossover SUV were among the exhibits.

GREAt WALL
Great Wall Motors [GWM] has been present in the Middle East of over 16 years and is also represented in Oman. The car and pick-up maker showed up with a strong line-up of seven models. Of these models, Great Wall M4, Great Wall H6, refreshed Wingle 5 pick-up and an extended wheelbase luxury limousine. GWMs core theme for the brand this year was focus, dedication, specialization and there was no shortage of the same at the stands.

Middle East is through a cooperation agreement with UAEbased AW Rostamani Group which represents various brands for passenger and light commercial vehicles.

JAC
JACs UAE retail partner Al Habtoor Motors surprised visitors with an impressive six car debut of JAC. This was the first time the Chinese car manufacturer was taking part in the event. JAC has been a comprehensive automaker with full-line independent brand vehicles in China, including light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, MPV, SUV, sedan, bus chassis, buses, engineering machinery, engines, gearboxes and other key components. Never mind hoe the models are named but the car maker has involved noted design house Pininfarina for some of its designs. The J2 is a hatchback, J5 and J6 are sedans, M2 is an MPV, A30 is an A-segment compact offering and S5 is JACs global crossover SUV offering, roughly the size of Hyundais Tucson or Toyotas RAV4

CHERY
Chery, a now familiar brand in the region and also in Oman, had a fairly comprehensive line-up of six strategic models covering B, C, D and SUV segments. The press conference was also attended by Huang Jiemin, Chinese ambassador to the UAE and Tang Weibin, Chinese consul general in Dubai. Models showcased included the Tiggo 5, Arrizo 7, E8 (New Eastar), E5, E3 (New Fulwin 2) and new Tiggo. Among the six models exhibited, the Tiggo 5 and Arrizo 7 made their official Middle East debut. Cherys new R&D team is focusing strongly on visual identity and on the payroll of the carmakers research and development department are ex-senior designers of Ford and Daimler-Chrysler, and the former design director of Porsche.

DONGFENG
Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DFM) showed up at the show with a strong lineup of seven core models including H30 Cross, S30, Rich pick-up, SUCCE CDV, JOYEAR XL, JOYEAR SUV and Dongfeng Warrior. At a time when rival Chinese carmakers are beginning to showcase individual styling, features and competent engineering, DFM cars presented at the show appeared quite modern, but their design loosely resembled popular Japanese or American models. DFMs presence in the

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2013 JD Power Sales Satisfaction Index: MINI tops again

Limited edition hot hatch to sign off Renaults 2013 F1 victory

enaults Renaultsport division has lifted the veil off of the Mgane RS 265 Red Bull RB8, a limited-edition variant of the hot hatch designed to celebrate the Red Bull teams fourth consecutive championship win in Formula 1 Racing. Mechanically, it is based on the stock RS 265, the Red Bull RB8 edition is finished in a model-specific shade of blue called Dusk Blue that is inspired by Red Bulls F1-racing car. Red Bull decals on both sides and on the hatch set the RB8 apart from stock RS 265s, and 19-inch gloss black alloy wheels mounted on low-profile tyres finish off the racebred look. Renault has not made any modifications under the bonnet and the Red Bull RB8 is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder motor that offers 265hp to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. A stiffer suspension and upgraded brakes help the limitededition Mgane deliver a more exhilarating driving experience. A limited production of 120 units of this car will be offered worldwide.

ts that time again: time for J.D. Powers annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, which measures customer satisfaction at dealerships across the US. Lexus and MINI dealers came out on top in 2012. For 2013, MINI did well also but Lexus slipped. After all the scores had been tallied from the Powers 29,040 respondents, MINI averaged an impressive 718 points (out of a possible 1,000). That put MINI at the top of the mass-market category for the fourth year in a row. The first runner-up was Buick, at 694 points. Chevrolet, GMC, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Fiat, Honda, and Toyota also scored above the massmarket average of 666 points. At the bottom, it was all Chrysler. The Chrysler brand clocked in at 649, Dodge at 638, Jeep at 630, and bringing up the rear, Ram, with 626 points. Its possible that Mitsubishi or Smart performed worse, but neither was included because of their small sample size. In the luxury category, Jaguar eked out a slim win, earning an average of 740 points -- one tick above Porsches 739. (Jaguar wasnt ranked in 2012 due to the small number of Jaguar shoppers who responded.) Last years #1, Lexus, came in third with a respectable 737. Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz were the only other brands to score above the luxury average of 718 points. In the bottom berth, we find Volvo (708 points), Land Rover (706), Acura (705), and last but not least, Lincoln (692).

AWARD FoR PeTeR ScHReYeR

eter Schreyer, President and Chief Design Officer of the Hyundai Motor Group, has received the Honorary Golden Steering Wheel, awarded for outstanding achievement in the automotive industry. Never before has design been so important in the automotive industry - a statement now substantiated by the decision of the jury of the 2013 Golden Steering Wheel awards. Bavarian-born Schreyer has been Chief Design Officer at Kia Motors since 2006 and was appointed President of all Hyundai-Kia Design Centres at the beginning of 2013. Schreyer is only the second designer in the 31-year history of the Golden Steering Wheel to receive the award. Giorgetto Giugiaro received it in 1995.

McLaren designer wants Golf rival

cLaren designer Frank Stephenson expressed his desire to launch a Volkswagen Golf competitor sometime in the future. In a recent interview, Stephenson, better known as the creative inspiration behind the design the MP4-12C, MP4-12C Spider and P1 said: I see a car like the VW Golf for 30 to 40,000 EUR, but McLaren with a carbon fiber monocoque, to happen in the future. Stephenson also expressed his disapproval regarding large design departments because he considers there are just too many people with their own opinions about styling and in the end the result is too toned down. Interestingly, Stephenson said Audi is a victim of this predicament. Stephenson added that for a regular car manufacturer such as Kia the designer doesnt need to have a lot of engineering knowledge, but the situation changes when you consider designing a hyper performance car.

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Designer Rice rejoins Mazda after 13 years with BMW


Mazda has strengthened its European design team with the addition of Kevin Rice as creative director. Effective 1 October, the 49-year-old will lead the European creative design process and will focus his attention on further developing the companys award-winning KODO Soul of Motion design language. The move marks Rices return to Mazdas European R&D Centre in Oberursel, Germany. As senior designer from 1995 to 2000, he contributed to many proposals for future Mazdas including the RX-8 and lead the development of the Neospace show car, exhibited at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show. Rice subsequently spent 13 years at BMW, where he was responsible for the exterior development of many models including the new 3 and 4 series. He now brings this valuable premium experience to the unconventional Japanese brand. Rice, a British national, studied Transportation Design at Coventry University and prior to joining Mazda in 1995, honed his skills at Italdesign in Italy and Opel in Germany.

All-new Nissan Qashqai revealed in London Ford teases next gen Ka/Figo as a stance while maintaining the crossover style, compact dimensions and raised driving position. Distinctive concept features - including a clamshell-style bonnet - lend a
premium appearance while retaining the Qashqais strong visual DNA. The line-up consists of four engines: two petrol and two diesels -- 1.2-litre DIG-T turbo followed by 1.6 DIG-T turbo in petrol and 1.5-litre and 1.6-litre diesel respectively. Among the various upgraded features is the steering, which for example, has been completely redesigned and re-engineered, with the introduction of a new Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system across the range. The car will be available in four-wheel drive ALLMODE 4x4-i version to match a choice of six-speed manual or all-new Xtronic transmissions. However, front-wheel-drive variants will account for the majority of sales in most markets, says Nissan. The incoming car is packed full of innovative technology according to Nissan. It offers drivers a comprehensive suite of advanced technology features enhancing every aspect of driving. Nissans Safety Shield technologies now incorporate Front Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Support and Traffic Sign Recognition along with several other vital driver aids, while Intelligent Park Assist takes the stress out of urban manoeuvres.

uring a spectacular projection mapping show, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the new model to the worlds press during an exclusive event in East London. For Nissan in Europe, the Qashqai has the leader in the crossover market with more than 2mn units produced since 2007. The all-new Qashqai goes on sale in selected global markets from January 2014. The new crossover is designed to appeal to both C-segment drivers looking for additional style, technology and excitement as well as downsizing buyers seeking greater efficiency. Premium technology, second generation crossover design and enhanced dynamics all combine to form the backbone of the incoming Qashqai. The new Qashqai is based on the new CMF (Common Module Family) Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and is 49mm longer than the current model and fractionally lower and wider, giving it a sleek, poised

ord has finally revealed what the next generation Figo (B562) could look like in Brazillast month. The Figo is also known as the Ka in several markets including Europe and serves as an entry level model for the brand. The new Fiesta-based EcoSport SUV crossover was first launched at Indias Auto Expo in 2012 as a concept which had minimal styling changes on the production version. The Ecosport was also launched for Middle East in Dubai earlier this month. Similarly, the Ford Ka/Figo Concept has been introduced, which will be launched in almost identical production form next year. Fords entry level hatchback is slightly bigger dimensionally compared to the existing model and a sedan version is also said to be under works. Styling of the next generation Figo is very much in line with the existing Ford design language. Mechanically, the new Figo/Ka will be based on the current Figo platform with lighter components. Engine options in India are expected to be the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol motor and 1.5-litre TDCI turbo diesel engine.

Toyota GT 86 to be primed for rally career

he highly engaging driving dynamics of Toyotas 86 sportscar will be converted into a thrilling rally specialist by Toyota Motorsport in Germany (TMG). TMG will develop the rear-wheel drive 86 into an R3 rally car and make it available to private competitors, with delivery expected for the 2015 season. The car, to be known as the TMG GT86 CS-R3, will be built according to R3 regulations, meaning it will have a six-speed sequential gearbox, limited slip differential, modified engine, adapted brakes and other upgrades. Drawing on the experience of developing the TMG GT86 CS-V3 race car for the Nrburgring-based VLN series, TMG engineers will modify the 86 to the maximum level permitted within the regulations. The new 86 rally car is targeted at private customers and is eligible for all FIA-sanctioned rallies, up to and including the World Rally Championship. Full specifications and pricing will be announced in the coming months.
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NEWS

brandwatch

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The Tokyo Motor Show is known for its wacky concept cars, but this year this was less pronounced than before. Participant presentation was focused more towards real time mobility solutions. Although this years edition was focused more on the domestic market, there were subtle messages for international markets too

S T H g I L e D o Y Tok
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during the tion in this show pa ici rt pa d ne ai abst re we give a isis were back. He cr teresting in 2013 in ic e om or on m ec d al an glob were the best deeper hat we thought surely a trailing w ce to be far s, ar of an m ye rt or po nt rf re ce pe re on d in an fulled stuff! than it has been eritage, power st of some recycl dustry in Japan id ds in m or e to w th au te in d ria gs ve in op vi er re appr me of the off indicator of the would be three world. Even so Tokyo Motor e s th ar Read on ut ye ho is ug th ro g th and describin siness who had n. bu e tio iv ra ot ite m rd to 63 au e in its ajor names in th Show which was has proven m ow Sh or ot M o The Toky

Author: Chandan B Mallik \ Photography: author

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AUd I
Besides the focus on the RS mod els, the talking point at the Aud i stand seemed to be about the future of the Quattro Concept. It isnt yet confirmed whether the sports car will make production, but if it is built the Qua ttro will become the most expe nsiv e car Audi has ever made. Post Tokyo, the buzz is that Aud i could create production versions of its Sport Quattro and Nanuk concepts in the near futu re as a move to widen its brand appeal.

BM W
We think that the Aurum Dust BMW Concept M4 displayed at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show was one of the main attractions during pres s days for the brand which shared space along with the i8 and i3. The 4 Series Cabriolet also was premiered.

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DA IH Ats U

with a clear and show fully prepared d came to this years an de mo possibilities of mini nt r nve the rei Daihatsu is in the w! Exploring the fur rro mo To Y LA P n kei car, se: ent of purpo lacement of the Cope very Japanese statem gested a possible rep sug ly on t wed no rro ts bo cep ted pen con the concepts presen vehicles. A pair of Ko applications. While, le version, t sty firs life ve the ati n], ov tio inn e panels for personaliza but also shared som dy bo le eab ng minicha Smart Car [inter re refined and stylish practicality from the t are looking for a mo tha s yer bu car rts car at spo was aimed ew Fun+ open-top the blue Kopen Rmz model promotes N red ou lly col ua en act gre d cab ry on sec like a tiny little lor convertible, while, the ll. DECK concept looked we co as De als FC nti the de ile, cre wh en so its has super gre with new feel. Mean l, cel l fue n at tio wh era t, s own latest gen Deco DECK concep powered by Daihatsu ical info about the FC hn tec . of ing al de tor at mo s gre ion release a l provide zero emiss While Daihatsu didnt it l cell design that wil nk fue thi id we liqu w ity ne cal a s cti t it ha all its bizarre impra we could gather tha under a seat. And for l tal ins to gh ou en The unit is now small was a great feat.

Tuner specials [Ken Okuyama]


Former Pininfarina designer Ken Okuyama who also supervised projects such as the Enzo Ferrari and Ferrari P4/5 is a respected name in Japans show circuit. Now, established as a boutique sports car builder in Japan, Okuyama Sans stand had an amazing selection of cars. The star of his stand was the Kode9 sports coupe, which highlights Okuyamas idiosyncratic way of looking at design. The coupe could easily pass for a top-effort from an Italian design house, but the characterful face and central tailfin Japanese Speed Racer influence is not to be missed. The car uses aluminium and carbon fibre in its construction and is powered by a HKS-supercharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which belts out 370hp. Okuyama has also produced a lighter, racy version of his K0.7 minimalist racer called the Kode7 Clubman. The two-seat racer has a 1.6-litre, 250hp engine under its bonnet, and looks custom made to terrorize club racetracks in Japan!

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HO NdA
Honda had two key messages for the audience-at-large. With the S660 concept Honda previewed its forthcoming kei-car for the dom estic market. The S660 takes man y styling cues from the EV-STER concept showcased two years ago at the same motor show . In this case, Honda removed the electric powertrain of the EV-S TER and replaced it with a 3-cylinde r 660cc turbo engine rated at 64bhp mated to seven-speed CVT. If reports are to be believed, Honda is said to be planning to sell the car overseas with a turb ocharged 100bhp 1.0-litre engine. The second message comes acro ss is that Honda is actively consider ing a smaller than the CR-V global crossover. The Vezel conc ept made its global debut and it looks like a mini CR-V with a hint of coupe profile and is mechanically based on the Jazz platform. Dep ending on market, it will be offered with 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines. The Tokyo version was essentially a production variant of the Urban SUV concept showcased at the beginning of the year at NAIAS. Once again the long-awaited NSX was on disp lay at the show along with a plug -in version of the Honda Accord. On the motorcycle front Hondas new Gold Wing F6C motorcycle was the star attraction besides the new cross country touring conc ept. Honda took the opportunity to overwhelm the Tokyo crowds with impressive two whe elers including the latest version of the stepless cub scooterette and mini monkey bike. A new fami ly of 650cc sport bikes that debu ted at EICMA this month including the CB650F and CBR650F take a step back from Hondas race -bred CBR600RR in terms of performance, but make up for it with plenty of style. The best of Hondas bikes was the CB1300 Super Bol Dor. Honda also debuted the CBR300. On the herit age side, Honda presented the original 1959 Isle of Man TT racin g bike.

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Lexus
By now, most of us are familiar with details of the Lexus LF-NX Concept after it debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. While the German version of the concept car featured a variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, the Japanese version has sprung up a pleasant surprise. For the hawk-eyed amongst us, this concept sported a turbo badge. So, officially, Lexus joins the trend of downsizing with forced feeding seems the message I get. A forced fed 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine paves the way for the introduction of turbocharged powerplants in future Lexus models, says the PR. The new turbo four makes use of an advanced high tumble port to facilitate fuel injector spray. It also comes with VVT-iw variable valve timing, an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head and, of course, a twin-scroll turbo with active wastegate valve. The result is said to be a blown engine that offers quick throttle response and exhilarating performance, along with excellent fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions. Meanwhile, the boldest-yet version of the spindle grille still bears an uncanny resemblance to The Predator, and the slightly revised exterior visuals are suggestive enough about Lexus future vision. Also making its debut as promised was the RC300. It seems that Lexus styling department has been strongly inspired by LF-LC and LF-CC concepts when they designed the new RC. The car appears extremely sharp and fresh with its contoured shape and the wide spindle grille. It comes with triangular LED headlamps and Lexus claims that it will be the first new model to boast a lightning package which will reflect the illumination upwards rather than downwards. The RC will be available as a 350 model equipped with a 3.5-litre V6 engine, as well as a more frugal 300h hybrid version with a 2.5-litre engine and electric motor.

M AZ dA

3 SKYACTIV-Hybrid led the Axela / Mazda re Mazda officially unvei car features a 2.0-lit e Th ajor milestone. ic ctr ele and described as a m cked up by an der petrol engine ba e SKYACTIV-G four-cylin output of 136hp. Th um xim ma ed a combin s, ed spe motor that produces low at ry ma the petrol engine, pri the electric motor assists rage 30.8 km/litre in ave to id ybr kgh 90 which helps the 1,3 JC08 cycle.

Mercedes-Benz
A bright red and raw carbon-fibred Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition was revealed ahead of its debut at the show alongside the new S65 AMG. To be built in a limited run of just 350 units, the Final Edition will be the last batch of SLS models to be sold before the car is officially retired next year. No announcement was made as to its successor. The second car introduced was the S-Class Coupe concept which we also saw in Dubai.

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MINI
The new MINI 2014 made global debuts at both the LA and Toky o Motor Show. Cosmetic changes to the new model include new head lamps and bumpers. But the bigg est changes are hidden under the new body work.

Automans take ess to its future succ Mitsubishis key w ne ined focus on will be a determ s and pick-up truck Vs SU rs, crossove s hi bis tsu ts. Mi for global marke arguably done a s ha am te g lin sty d with this trio an job much better ive dr elfour-whe with its full-time market SUVsize, ht rig d an m syste re it hints at a futu we can only hope jero. design for the Pa
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In Tokyo, the company showed not one but three new concept vehicles, all crossovers, that prove as muc h that it was looking beyond Japa n and North America. The most impo rtant of them might just be this fullsize Concept GC-PHEV (Grand Cruiser). Longer, taller and wide r than the current Pajero (which is still offered in other markets), the Conc ept GC-PHEV is a big SUV with a fuelefficient plug-in hybrid powertra in. A 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercha rged V6 and an eight-speed auto matic transmission are paired with a 94-h p electric motor and high-capacity battery to provide some serious brawn in a green wrapper. The resu lt is targeted fuel consumption of 15km /litre on the Japanese cycle (aro und 35 miles per gallon) to go with an all-electric driving range of mor e than 40km. In the Concept AR [Active Runabou t], according to Mitsubishi is a blen d of the comfort of a minivan and active personality of an SUV. This Acti ve Runabout we felt was close to prod uction complete with running gear . The front wheels get power from a 134-hp, 1.1-litre turbocharged thre ecylinder engine paired with a 10kW electric motor used as a belt star ter generator A continuously varia ble transmission handles shifting duti es in this mild hybrid.

MIts UbI sHI

. It sult is surprising hicle, and the re ve al ide ted eir ra th ge g ag lp designin thing, with ex ung adults to he cused, self-driving -fo vy cti of Nissan invited yo ne n on tio t-c ra erne the next gene al isnt some Int s have expected IDx turns out the ide many automaker at wh IDx Freeflow and be ely to m s na em t, sult of this effor styling, which se re a e ar rs ca t . Two concep drivers will want Nismo.

Nissan Nissan is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year in style and confidence. An evening before the official opening of the show, Nissans CEO Carlos Ghosn officially introduced the 2014 GTR and Nismo GT-R at Nissans HQ. The fastest ever production GT-R needed only 7 minutes and 8 seconds to do a lap of the Nrburgring after experts from Nismo tweaked the supercar. They revised the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 engine by installing larger turbochargers, improving fuel pump combustion and optimizing the ignition timing of all cylinders. Thanks to these changes, output of the engine was bumped to 600hp and 652Nm of torque. After taking care of the motor, Nismo fitted the GT-R with new springs and bespoke Bilstein dampers, as well as specially developed Dunlop tyres. Theres also a hollow rear anti-roll bar and new links for the front double wishbone suspension. On the outside it wears an aero kit and rides on GT500 racecar-derived six-spoke black alloys. At the show the reference made by Ghosn was to connect heritage and innovation with the future Gen X customers. By involving forward-thinking group of planners, engineers and designers proactively with next-generation customers, Nissan has discovered a

ng a new kind of digital natives in buildi engage with young ld cou san l/lifestyle-focused Nis ua ich cas wh the mework in of this thinking was ult res e Th new development fra s. car g if it came out makin future that looks as w, progressive way of ra-sporty model of the ult relationship a ne an , MO NIS IDx ow concept and the mand vision, the IDx Freefl Zero Emission on De g simulator. vin s of Nissans ZEOD RC ep tst foo ering the directly from a dri ste in s ype ich follow using an aircraft-t was BladeGlider, wh ent and can be driven d gem an we The second concept arr allo g s tin ha ck sea 1+2 ile the wide rear tra a McLaren F1-inspired s rrow front track, wh icle na veh ely racecar, and adopts the rem of ext nt an rce by sign is highlighted matter of fact, 70 pe a de g As . ikin car str e the Th . of r eel nts wh avy compone tors and the two rea install most of the he ries, two in-board mo del. Nissans engineers to are lithium-ion batte re the ere med production mo wh na s un eel o rear wh basis for an upcoming the ay of as arr ve weight sits on the tw an ser es uld sid wo r d sporty heritage, be d that the BladeGlide of its engineering an nce passengers. Ghosn sai de evi d ha nd tations, Nissans sta Besides, these presen s. and Japan specific car ls de mo familiar global

Bowlby, of designer Ben is the brainchild the rs: ca The BladeGlider ce ed ra two similarly shap l ra ve se who conceived of in ar ye this ing, which raced ssan Ni e roofless DeltaW th d lle ca el closed-top mod series, and a new ll race next year. wi ich ZEOD RC, wh

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PS A
Both Peugeot an d Citroen were pr esent trying to wo halo model the RC o the Japanese. Z R was in full glo Peugeots ry besides Citroen latest version of s stylish DS3 ha theC4 Grand Pic tcback. The asso MPV was als models included o presented. Othe the 2008 crosso r Peugeot ver.

PO Rs CH E

barely two n crossover SUV, veil of the Maca un l ba e [from glo nn e ye th s Ca Porsches baby on for Porsche wa aser-filled route. The star attracti te tall which d m an m g 24 lon 1,6 a d r an LA debut afte 1,923mm wide g, lon m m 99 days before the mpared 4,6 Co sign] is bigger brother. n most of the de m lower than its m 82 d which it has take lower. an m r m we 30 rro mm wider and shorter, 16mm na 70mm longer, 24 is n 36mm at makes it 146mm d ca an Ma e nt th , fro e ich is based upon mm bigger at th 35 e ar hs dt ftware wi to the Q5 on wh cans track addition, the so e Audi Q5, the Ma to this model. In e iqu un e its ar in Compared to th s g nt lin pone most agile hand e suspension com e Macan is the th -litre. re 3.6 su the back, while th d e an ak m re been updated to g between 3.0-lit ve cin ha pla ry dis et h red nc om ge lau and ailable upon o S which is powe engines will be av namera, the Turb Pa e th of on rsi class. Three V6 werful ve ted the most po Porsche also debu . -litre V8 by a 562bhp 4.8

Subaru It seems that there is still time for Subaru to decide on its future wise. This Viziv Evolut direction product ion concept looks no and design t unlike the Viziv Conce Geneva show in March pt that Subaru showe . As we would remem d us at the ber, the original Viziv bodywork around a crossover concept ha trendy hybrid setup d had coupe com prising of a 2.0-litre motors [two motor diesel engine and thr s powered the rear wh ee ele ctric eel s]. This new so-called Ev dissimilar. All it does olution of the Viziv to remain newsworth is not y is to sw ap engine for the diesel in a small displacem unit. ent gasoline-powere d Meanwhile, the Crosso ver 7 concept appears designed to preview new Subaru Sport Cro a possible Tribeca suc ss Design Concept wa cessor. The s also revealed along version. side the Subaru Levorg production

SUZUkI
Suzukis stand was quite impressive in size and content. Combining adventure with its fun styling was the Crosshiker concept which is based on the Regina concept that debuted two years ago. While based on the same platform, it now has the stance of a crossover. The Crosshiker uses a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine. The second concept, mechanically based on the domestic Jimny, called the X-Lander features four-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain with a 1.3-litre engine. Moving into the world of two-wheeled transportation, the Recursion concept which blends the power of larger performance bikes with the handling and maneuverability of smaller bikes by using a lightweight, turbocharged, two-cylinder engine caught our attention while the smaller super moto-inspired Extrigger electric concept bike reminded us of the Honda monkey bike revival.

TOYOtA
Id say the Toyota stand was quite amusing. You had displays of familiar models and in equal spirit unfamiliar Japan domestic models. Toyota staff at the stand explained the line-up by saying that the Toyota Prius C you seen here in North America goes by Toyota Aqua in Japan. And, we are proud to show off a few variations of products that the Aqua could spawn. On closer scrutiny, Id say the most appealing car from the brand was arguably, the red Aqua Air Concept open top. The pint-sized 2+2 droptop features some premium styling details despite its humble origins, like aluminium-finish mirror caps, LED lighting front and rear and some stylish alloys. The intriguing part was that the Aqua Cross Concept is a large departure from the standard hybrid hatchback. It appears to have imbibed some mild crossover attributes and perhaps the inspiration came from domestic rival and project partner Subaru which had the XV Crosstrek captivating local audiences. The other two version of the Aqua Aqua Gs Concept and Premi Aqua Concept w ere more of adaptions of a theme. The Premi part of that cars name refers to premium, with the evidence apparently found in the Lexus-like front grille treatment and leather-clad interior. The Gs Concept is the sporty member of the group with another version of a sporty grille. To differentiate, thanks to a new body kit, checkered flag decals on the rocker pane, theres a slightly lowered look supported by flashy wheels. Of all the line-up that Toyota had on display, the FV2 pod-like concept would qualify as being the most creative. The minimalist single-seat concept is a glimpse at Toyotas idea of a fun to drive vehicle in the future. A closer look at the domestic version of the Corolla suggests an upmarket and completely different interior! Meanwhile, the blue coloured FCV is pretty close to the final product, not just in the way it looks, but also with the technology underneath, Toyota executives say. Toyotas hydrogen powered sedan is production ready and is expected to hit markets in Japan, Europe and the United States by 2015.

re was debuted he ! Concept which Up in Tw close to e Th ite r. ropean cycle, qu in the Up! city ca 214mpg on the Eu r and installed it te ble ea ka o-s ar m tw re a em its XL1 tand ck can achieve powertrain from four-seat hatchba VO LkswAG EN cient diesel-hybrid lt, the compact su effi re r a pe As hy . or its ot ed upgrad kW electric m Volkswagen has sel engine and 35 ylinder, 800cc die o-c tw a th wi es com performance. the XL1s 261mpg

VOLvO Japans biennial Tokyo Motor Show has faced an exodus of international brands following the financial crisis of the past decade and it was nice to see brands like Volvo returning to the fold. The Volvo Concept Coup was the centre of attention for the Swedish brand. Product chief Lex Kerssemakers and head designer Thomas Ingenlath presentations revolved about future design spin-offs in the future line-up. The Concept Coupe is the first in a series of three concepts previewing Volvos future, also showcases the automakers aspirations in promoting new plug-in hybrid technology.

KTM For a predominantly European bike manufacture, KTM had a lime consisting of its RC lineup of 125cc, 200cc and 390cc sport bikes. It was also the official debut of the Indian-built and supermoto-styled Duke, the diminutive RC390 sports bike. The X-Bow four-wheeler signed of the brands stand.

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KAwAsAkI
Kawasaki, like Honda and Yamaha presented the past, present and future of motorcycling. While the hottest Ninja series of sportsbikes were introduced, the future was represented by the J Concept. Interestingly, Kawasaki also has a subbrand in Japan called Estrella and it produces retro-British mid-60s inspired naked and faired single-cylinder machines. The Kawasaki J concepts comes out from science fiction and while it technically has three wheels, in Sport Mode the two front wheels are pushed together, and the entire machine hunkers down to lower the centre of gravity. In Comfort Mode, the stance is raised and the front wheels separate, giving the ride a more upright position that is, well, more comfortable. Instead of handlebars, steering is accomplished with two levers, one attached to each of the front wheels. Powering the bike is an electric motor which draws power from a compact nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack. Besides, these, Kawasakis new supercharged engine also attracted a lot of interest. Kawasakis personal watercraft uses a four-cylinder, 1500cc four-stroke that makes 300 horsepower thanks to an Eaton Twin Vortices Series roots-type supercharger with air-to-water intercooler and it seems now that this technology is heading for motorcycles. Kawasaki are said to have filed a patent on a ZX-14-esque inspired motorcycle. While no announcements were made in this respect, a production version of a ZX 14 R could be out next year wearing this gear.

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YAMAHA Till now we have known Yamaha as a maker of motorcycles, jet skis, quads and compact V8 engines for motorcar applications. But Tokyo did spring up a surprise besides an impressive display of newest versions of its cruiser bikes namely the VMax and retro-inspired caf racer called Concept Bolt, was nestled a compact city car! Yes, you heard it right. The story is that Yamaha and the Gordon Murray have teamed up to showcase a project actually Murray Designs longpromised small car project in the form of this MOTIV.e City Car EV. Compared to Murrays T.27 electric car, the MOTIV.e is both a more complete vehicle. The EVs body is constructed of weight-saving plastic panels and molded to fit around the cars dominating, bubble-like glasshouse. The cars electric motor delivers 15 kilowatts continuously with a peak of 25 kW, which translates roughly to 658Nm of torque for the rear wheels. Yamaha figures the 8.8-kWh battery pack should give the EV a range of more than 160km real world and a three-hour recharging time from a domestic socket (with a one-hour quick-charge). Yamaha also brought in two exotic electric-powered concepts [improbably shared the stand with Yamahas electric violin]. Meanwhile, with all the look of a production-racer, the Yamaha is testing waters with the R25 concept that could be a winner in the growing Asian sub 300cc sportsbike class.

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FUtURE MObILItY OPtIONs


A lot of car manufacturers are looking at future mobility and its no secret that autonomous driving is about to become reality. Taking the lead in this arena were automakers like Nissan and Mercedes-Benz who have promised to keep on track to deliver self-driving cars by 2020. While for many of us the idea may appear far fetched for now, the Japanese automakers at the show were adamant in saying that some of the most futuristic concepts they shared in Tokyo are technologically sound and could someday be a reality. It was amazing to watch Toyotas demonstration of how a wheelchair goes in the direction that the users thoughts tell it to go automatically. It uses sensors in a helmet worn by the user which pick up on the electric impulses coming from the brain to steer the wheelchair. Though only a prototype, its truly astonishing. Besides the mainstream brands like Toyota, Nissan and Honda, a few independents were also present with an array of innovations ranging from solar power stations for charging EVs, PHEVs and even a Bubble Car concept. Toyotas pod-like FV2 with a diamond-shaped wheel array using thought-technology to gauge the drivers mood and suggest possible destination was quite interesting and so was Hondas unveiled a new version of its tiny MC- EV. Smaller than a regular Kei car in terms of overall size, battery capacity and range, should it ever go on sale, the MC- would be considered an L7 vehicle in Europe.

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COVERSTORY |
AUDI R8 V10 PLUS

EDITorIal NomInee

2013 2012

2014 AUDI R8 V10 PLUS PERFORMANCE CAR

FAST LAne
Author: Chandan B Mallik
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In THe

In 2012, Audi released the official details on its updated R8 family. But to everyones surprise, the Ingolstadt, Germany based carmaker added a new top model to the line-up: a new R8 V10 Plus. Automan was invited to check out this car in UAE last month

t seems that quite few automakers are getting their act together in promoting their respective halo models and as it happens, its no exception at Audi. Technically, the R8 V10 Plus is the second Plus model offered by Audi, the first one being the TT-RS Plus [Eds note: Automan tested this car in 2012]. The Plus treatment relates to both cosmetic individualization and optimized performance enhancements by increasing power to weight ratios

besides software upgrades to the engine. In this case it also means additional output and reduced weight. To achieve the goal of weight reduction, Audi has used glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) in the adjustable bucket seats, reduced the amount of insulating materials, fitted special light-alloy wheels and installed lightweight chassis components, like standard ceramic brakes. These elements take care of part of the weight reduction inside the cabin and actually join the many other

carbon-fibre elements in the car. Evidence of these can be found in the carbon-fibre reinforced plastic components like the front splitter, lateral air inlets and the huge rear diffuser. As expected in this sort of exercise, the exterior of the car also receives some aesthetic tweaks. The model specific matteblack vent louvres next to the rear window and dual gloss-black round exhaust tailpipe trim sections are quite impressive and do the job. The intense use of carbon fibre has helped drop the cars total weight

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to an impressive 1,573kg. The R8 V10 Plus, like other upgraded models in the line-up for 2014 also benefits from some fringe interior upgrades like new, high-quality diamondstitch leather seats, a new leather-covered multifunction sports steering wheels with a prominent R8 logo. For comfort and convenience, things like the new Audi MMI Navigation plus system or a high end Bang&Olufsen sound system havent been forgotten. Clearly the focus is trying to balance both ends of the spectrum with some bling thrown in like the LED lamps that illuminate the engine compartment. Now lets come to the section where the real business is. Audi has placed the same 5.2-litre engine that comes in the stock R8 V10. But in the Plus, power output has been bumped up by 25hp when compared to the base R8 V10 version. This means that the output of the range topper now stands at 550 hp and thanks to modified engine

CLEARLY THE FOcUS IS TRYING TO BALANcE BOTH ENDS OF THE SPEcTRUM WITH SOME BLING THROWN IN LIKE THE LED LAMPS THAT ILLUMINATE THE ENGINE cOMPARTMENT.
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NEED EXTRA TORQUE WITHOUT PUSHING THE THROTTLE PEDAL OR MANUAL DOWNSHIFTING: JUST PROMPT THE CAR INTO SPORTS MODE AND SEE THE ELECTRONICS INSTANTLY TAKING OVER. BESIDES THE ENGINE REVVING UP, THE TRANSMISSION DROPS TWO COGS

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THE R8 V10 IS THE SECOND MODEL IN AUDIS LINE-UP TO GET THE PLUS TREATMENT. PLUS DOESNT DILUTE THE CHARM OF THE STOCK R8S IN ANYWAY. THINK OF IT AS BONUS FOR TRACK BIASED DRIVERS LOOKING FOR DOUBLE FUN
management, 540Nm of torque is available at 6,500rpm. With the weight saving advantage of roughly 50kg, the range topper in combination with the new seven speed S tronic gearbox with closer ratios can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 3.5secs and flies past the 200km/h mark just 7.8 seconds later. Helping the cars downforce is the retractable rear spoiler which comes into play when the car reaches 100km/h. The dualclutch transmission can be shifted at the selector lever or at the steering wheel paddles and our test cars came equipped with sports mode. Like the V10 versions, the Plus comes with 19in wheels measuring 8.5in and 11in wide shod with 235/35 and 295/30 asymmetric low profile tyres front and rear, respectively. DRIVING IMPRESSIONS Since this was a group event at Dubai Autodrome, the exercises were split. So you had track driving, braking and ABS exercises and a fast slalom under supervision. While this aspect sometimes can limit the potential of fully exploiting the vehicle, it would be fair to say that the time spent behind the wheel was worth it. We began our exercises on track. After a few familiarization laps, our pace car took the lead for the allotted group and depending on the groups driving performance kept the increasing or decreasing the lap speeds. The first round I did in default settings and found the car pretty responsive all around. While many car makers have opted for electric steering set-ups in the name of efficiency and in most cases have compromised with the handling of what used to be considered as reasonably acceptable levels of performance, I am delighted that Audi have retained the hydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering. In Sport mode, two things happen: not only you get extra torque in the rev band but also realised how fast the shifting can be from this S tronic setup. We think its a credible alternative to Porsches PDK in the 911. The downside of driving the car in Sport mode is that it requires more precision and involvement from the driver and in our estimate an average driver would actually need a lot of time with the car to get accustomed. The car virtually penalizes the driver for the slightest mistake or error in making a tactical judgment. This is evident when you push the super sensitive throttle in the incorrect gearing, the engine will stutter [as if the electronics are totally confused]. The extra 25 horses available in the naturally aspirated Pluss V10 FSI engine actually put the car into supercar territory and well utilized during demanding track jobs. And we wouldnt be surprised to see comparisons in future with the Italians brethren. Meanwhile, back to our driving experience at the Autodrome, the V10 Plus to me feels too sensitive to handle at times. You have to be extremely cautious especially with the steering manouevres as the feedback is too fast [Audi say it is sporty] and direct due to its 16.3:1 steering ratio. However, once you get used to it, it is able to convey a sense of maximum precision in and out of corners. The ESC electronic stabilization control also works in Sport mode which permits safe oversteer when throttle is applied when exiting a curve. The driver can also completely deactivate the ESC for dynamic driving and the most appropriate place to that was during the unhindered fast laps on the track and it blips the throttle artfully, rarely finds itself out of step, and most of all is objectively fast. The other exercises involving braking and slaloms were interesting. The 8-pot brakes are quite good and Audi also offers ceramics as options. And the most important message conveyed to us was that despite the supercar credentials, the Pluss package doesnt undermine the model series trump card its easy enough to be driven everyday like a normal car. Interestingly, quite a few sports cars despite

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being tech-savvy have retained lets say the old-fashioned mechanical handbrake. Wed like to add this as our wish list as it would enhance the spirited fun factor in this super sports. The other minor irritant was despite high class composite construction, squeaks do filter in the compact cabin. We suggest Audi engineers and trouble shooters attend to this aspect and ensure unadulterated driving pleasure for the users of this car.

VERdICT The R8 line-up represents top end of the brand and the Plus variant is welcome for those who want a bit extra. Its supercar proportions set it apart from competitors such as the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R, and the R8s smooth styling, conceived by Audi designer Frank Lamberty, remains true to the original Le Mans concept.

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RoADTESTS |
NISMO GT-R

EDITorIal NomInee

2013 2012

2014 NISMO GT-R PERFORMANCE CAR

Nismo, Nissans performance arm has decided to play with the 2014 GT-R, the brands halo model. The result is new levels of performance and dynamism. Automan was among the select few journalists worldwide to have experienced the most extreme GT-R in Japan last month Author and photography: Chandan B Mallik

FAST
DEC 2013

FuRIouS

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n evening before the Tokyo Motor Show press day on November 21, Nissans HQ was abuzz with media activity. CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled to the gathering the revised 2014 GT-R and Nissan GT-R Nismo. Ghosn said during the launch that the Nismo version of the GT-R comes with a confident tagline Zero Competition. And when it comes to maintaining this tagline, theres no compromise according to Ghosn. For 2014, the stock GT-R has received a host of improvements that are aimed to push the performance and convenience benchmark. The good thing is that Nissans halo product planners have consulted GT-R users and factored in most of the suggestions. And with the Nismo treatment, the Japanese carmaker has made the car genuinely more desirable. Fact or myth, well this is what the spec sheet suggests: top speed is 315km/h, and as expected aerodynamics has a big role to play in the overall performance and by using the latest Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation techniques to analyse airflow, Nismo has developed an aero package that improves roadholding, minimises the negative impact of drag. The aero tweaks begin with the front bumper, engine undercover strake and massive fixed height rear spoiler, modified and widened front valance, tapered rear valance and side skirts all constructed in carbon fibre. Besides the aesthetic impact, the carbon-fibre bits, according to Nissan, help reduce the cars total weight by about 143 pounds and combine to work and increase downforce, besides lowering the centre of gravity by 15mm and generating an additional 100kg at 300km/h compared to the updated 2014 GT-R. The Nismo versions aerodynamic characteristics are tuned to ensure the downforce is equally spread front to rear at all speeds for progressive handling characteristics. Thats evident when you notice the cars [stock and Nismo variants side by side]. All these help keep the drag to Cd 0.26, the same as that of 2014 Nissan GT-R. And to sign-off its standalone appearance, the design of the sixspoke alloys are said to be inspired by Nissans

original GT500 racer and the body is now eight per cent stiffer. Inside the car, theres a befitting story to tell. Theres plenty of evidence related to craftsmanship and bespoke features and application of cutting edge technology. The carbon-fibre-backed sporty

ALTHOUGH THE FIRST SKYLINE GT-R FROM NISSAN ARRIvED IN 1969, IN THE FOUR DEcADES PLUS THAT FOLLOWED THERE HAvE MANY vAcANT YEARS FOR THIS MODEL SERIES.
RECARO seats up front have been ergonomically sculpted and despite the firm padding, they are body hugging. Then you have the Nismo racer influence on the design of the three spoke steering wheel which is dressed in Alcantara. Bespoke contrast red stitching looks neat and so does the carbon-matte weave finish on the speedometer dial is classy while the tachometer gets a bright red dial. The instrument cluster is also dressed with Alcantara. Meanwhile, complementing the rest of the Interior trim are discreet red stitching on the seats, centre console, door trim and steering wheel.

Besides the aero tweaks and cosmetic enhancements, the serious business is under the skin and under the bonnet in particular where the existing 3.8-litre V6 VR38DETT engine has been further tweaked with both hardware and software upgrades and is based on the knowledge that Nismo has gained from participating in high octane events such as the Nrburgring 24 hour races. Engine power has been bumped and is now rated at 592hp and 652Nm of torque. The biggest change out here relates to the breathing apparatus by which we mean the turbo chargers. The old hardware has been replace with new high-flow, large diameter turbochargers, which are straight off from the GT3 racing cars. These turbos help improve improve breathing, while optimised individual ignition timing control for each cylinder and upgraded fuel pump improve combustion in the cylinders. Besides the engine upgrades, the suspension setup has been clearly inspired by that of the Nismo racing GT-R. The coil springs and custom-developed Bilstein DampTronic shock absorber in the front and rear suspension are specially calibrated to deliver progressive handling response at the limit. Drive has choice of three suspension modes: Comfort, Normal and R [for circuit applications]. Since the users of Nismo GT-R are expected to enjoy track days without the hassle of track setups, Nismo has co-developed high grip asymmetric tyres with Dunlop. The Nismo variants are fitted with 255/40 ZRF20 up front and 285/35 ZRF20 in the rear on Nismo designed light alloys. Meanwhile, specially-developed links have been fitted to the front double wishbone suspension to help increase castor trail [to optimise wheel position during high-G cornering mainly] and improve straight-line and cornering stability. Additionally, large high-rigidity bolts are used to increase stiffness of the wheel-hub attachment area. And to help minimize body-roll during cornering and changes of direction, the Nissan car features a 17.3mm hollow rear anti-roll bar which raises roll stiffness while reducing some weight.

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NISMO TREATMENT TO THE ALREADY UPGRADED FOR 2014 GT-R INcLUDES LIGHTER cOMPONENTS, SPEcIAL AERODYNAMIc TREATMENT AND BIGGER TURBOS STRAIGHT FROM GT3 TRAcK MAcHINES AND NEWLY DEvELOPED HIGH TRAcTION DUNLOP TYRES. BESIDES THAT, THE cARS TWIN-TURBO V6 HAS BEEN TUNED TO DELIvER 591BHP AND 652NM OF TORqUE
DRIVING IMPRESSIONS Nissan decided that we should test this car in an appropriate setting. So, an hours drive from Tokyo, we accumulated at the Sodegaura Forest Raceway, located in Sodegaura-shi, Chiba prefecture which is dotted with country side farms and small towns. The Sodegaura circuit opened in 2009 and is smaller than the F1 approved tracks. The right hand track is 2.436km long and has 14 corners and a variety of interesting turns and cambers. Its a popular circuit with gentlemen racers and designed not to be too technical, but it does allow the potential of any motor car to be exploited, depending on the driver and car. This is where we were strapped up inside the Nismo GT-R for a few test laps. Given the go ahead sign by the marshal, we blast out of the pits onto a 90degree right hander in second gear. The acceleration in first gear and part of second is enough for one to realize that the car is genuinely fast as the numbers on the spec sheet have suggested all along. By the time we completed a full lap, this car reminded me one of the whiteknuckle hit of acceleration from a supercar tested by us recently -- the McLaren 12C in particular. While theres plenty of torque in the low rev band to ensure G-forces are felt, theres a short delay as the GT3 turbos move into action, and even before you have realized whats you are hit by the G-forces literally pinning you to the seats. As I discovered later, neck braces would have been more useful in this exercise in addition to the safety helmets. The noise this car emits [combination of the intakes gulping the air, exhausts bellowing and all four tyres ripping at the tarmac] is music to the ears. While the Sodegaura has a lot of fast corners including a tricky double S, the finishing stretch is long enough to allow a spirited driver to exploit a straight-line sprint. We pushed the car to the limits, pretending to mimic the cars recent Nurburgring lap timed of 7min 8sec. However, Id like to point out that the GT-R Nismo which clocked the Nurburgring lap car featured an even more extreme aero pack, and its chassis was specifically tuned for the ring. Thats not all, the stripped out car weighed 50kg less than the standard GT-R Nismo.

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THE GT-R NISMO IS AvAILABLE IN FIvE HUES: BRILLIANT WHITE PEARL, METEOR FLAKE PEARL BLAcK, ULTIMATE METALLIc SILvER AND VIBRANT RED AND DARK MATTE GREY WHIcH IS ExcLUSIvE TO THIS vARIANT

The benefits of extra 50bhp, extra grip from the Dunlops and ever-higher cornering speeds comes natural, thanks to retuned springs and three-stage Bilsteins and tighter body control part in thanks to the anti roll bar and the stiffer body. While, we were limited to just four laps on this early preview drive, were not complaining. It was enough for us to get a feel for its character which I am happy to report is less brutal than what most people might have thought. The car is in complete sync with the

driver with all that power at ones disposal. And set to Race mode one can feel the rear end twitching under full throttle with some lock applied, and thats real fun as long as one doesnt overdo it. But the best part of this car is that on a dry, flat track like Sodegaura, the Nismo GT-R, very much like the stock GT-R has been designed to stay as neutral as possible. While steering weight is slightly on the heavier

side, but its feedback is close to some of the exotic supercars. In such a responsive car with dial-in performance, you simply choose a trajectory, pour on the power and literally fly out with tons of confidence. For a car born out of engineering obsession, that feeling of involvement and connection is a worthy achievement and interestingly, despite the upgrades and improvements the fast reacting transmission hasnt lost is characteristic mechanical clunk while

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up or downshifting. In terms of sheer stopping power, the large brakes are well endowed as far as job description goes. However, we were surprised that Nismo doesnt offer ceramic options as it feels the regular brakes are adequate for the job. We may not be entirely convinced about the logic provided, but since we had a good experience with the car [no pedal fading etc noted], we have no adverse comments to offer.

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DESPITE ALL OF THE ADDITIONS HELPING DISTINGUISHING THE NISMO MODEL FROM THE STOcK GT-RS INcLUDING A NEW AND WIDENED FRONT vALANcE, A TAPERED REAR BUMPER, THE TOTAL DRAG cOEFFIcIENT OF THIS cAR STANDS AT 0.26 CD, SAME THAT OF THE STOcK GT-R

VERdICT The GT-R Nismo is more than a power upgrade and with this arrangement the GT-R had reached the height of its powers. We were expecting to be intimidated by the GT-R Nismo, instead we returned entertained and this makes the car very attractive to lucky punters. Nismo will prepare 200 units of the GT-R each year. The car gets a hearty thumbs up from me!

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COVERSTORY |
2014 Cadillac CTS
EDITorIal NomInee

2013 2012

2014 caDIllac CTS lUXUrY mID sIZe seDan

FAST FoRWARD InTo neW TeRRIToRY


All-new third generation 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan comes to the region with a very interesting agenda. Automan is among the first in the region to test drive this car shortly after its Middle East debut at the Dubai International Motor Show Author: Chandan B Mallik

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ts no secret General Motors drive to make Cadillac a global luxury brand took shape after the companys 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring. Since then, Cadillacs effort is being supported by a product driven growth plan and a clearer direction for models that is expected gives the brand a realistic chance to establish itself confidently as a global premium brand on par with all the other premium competitors. And key to that initiative is the sedan line-up which is now much more defined. While the CTS has been on the market for slightly more than a decade, up until this thirdgeneration, Cadillac hasnt truly had the proper high-performance rear-wheel-drive architecture to build a genuine world-class fighter, both inside and out. While the outgoing second generation CTS established the credentials for the model series as an all-rounder serving two segments, at the end of its career it was finding itself a little out of place in terms of positioning. It was too big to be considered as a compact sedan, and yet too small to be a proper mid-sized contender. And as it happens, both segments are very clearly defined at this level, especially when your competition is premium German. GMs premium brand took the wraps off its all-new midsize 2014 CTS sedan at the New York Auto Show in March of this year and that pretty much sums up the sedan line-up which now has the ATS and XTS models below and above it respectively. And at first glance of the spec sheet, it seems that the new CTS has been designed and executed with a clear cut agenda: to take on the Europeans with worldclass interiors and top class driving dynamics. So, the first job was to get the size and proportions right. This has been done by altering some of the key dimensions. At 4,966mm the new CTS is 127mm longer than the outgoing model on a wheelbase thats been stretched by 1.2in. The car sports the new design language and has a family resemblance to the compact ATS and full-size XTS sedan. While

Cadillacs Art and Science design language is still vogue, the previous radical elements in the styling have been softened. Cadillacs signature vertical lines and sharp crease lines continue as before, but the grille is wider, with vertical stripes of daytime LED running lights which continue below down, right up to the fog lamp housings. While stretched in overall length and wheelbase, the all-new CTS sedan has a lower curb weight than the preceding model [1,640-1,803kg] and weighs about 90kg less than a BMW 528i. Also contributing to the lower weight and a nearly 50/50 weight balance are Cadillacs first application of aluminium in door structures. While external dimensions and wheelbase have changed, it doesnt necessarily mean that the cabin is bigger and that occupants gain head or leg room for that matter. While head and leg room are similar to the previous model, the biggest change perceived is in the execution of the cabin. The interior of the new CTS represents sweeping changes with Cadillac equipping all trim levels (Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium) with some serious high-grade standard appointments like acoustically laminated front side windows, 14-way power operated front seats and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), which comes with an 8in TFT display in the centre console. While leatherette [artificial leather] is standard on the base model, higher trim models get soft leather, genuine wood, real aluminium and carbon fibre. Analog instrument panel is standard, but we liked the 12.3-in fully reconfigurable digital cluster in the higher grades. In terms of connectivity, the CTS is supplied with three USB ports, an SD card reader and an AUX input. An 11-speaker Bose audio package is also standard, with a 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system optional or bundled with a premium package. Compared with the Germans, it is difficult to fault the cabin of the CTS in terms of appointments, materials, finishes or touch points. It seems Cadillac has worked quite hard to bring everything up to

the standards of the European rivals and things like the rich stitched leather at the tops of the door panels dont go unnoticed. While, the family resemblance between the ATS and the CTS is strong when it comes to the exterior, but the cockpit of the more expensive midsize sedan is better configured when it comes to the details. We liked the slightly angled controls on the doors, the high-mounted vents and forwardmounted cup holders of the CTS. While, the cabin is clean, modern and classy now, some drivers may miss the volume knob for the stereo. Cadillac insists on using touch-sensitive controls for climate and sound functions. Of the three powertrain options available for the model series, for the first time in the region, the CTS is being offered with a choice of two powertrains one normally aspirated and the other forced fed. The entry level will be served by the all-new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 272hp at 5,500 and 400Nm of torque from 17005,500rpm and goes from zero to 100 km/h in 6.1secs [1.5secs faster than the outgoing V6 model]. This four-cylinder is also used in the ATS and power is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission to all the wheels through a limited slip differential set-up. The direct injected normally-aspirated V6 offers 321hp at 6,800rpm and 371Nm of torque at 4,800rpm and is mated to the latest eight-speed automatic transmission. The CTS suspension package uses multi-link MacPherson strut with a double-pivot design up front and five-link independent rear. And considering the fact that the CTS is now targeting the finest from Germany and Japan, active suspension is expected to help in boost the cars dynamic handling qualities. In terms of support kit, Magnetic Ride Control, the worlds fastest-reacting suspension is now standard on base models riding on 18inch wheels and also standard are front Brembo brakes with ferritic-nitro carburizing, or FNC, anticorrosion rotors. Meanwhile, three selectable

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WITH THE INTRODUcTION OF THE NEW ATS, CADILLAc HAS MORE PREcISELY MATcHED THE MODEL WITH PREMIUM GERMAN RIvALS IN ALL RESPEcTS TO PAcKAGING. THE NEW CTS, AS A LARGER cAR, IT HAS MOvED UP INTO THE MIDSIZE cATEGORY, PUTTING IT IN DIREcT cOMPETITION WITH THE AUDI A6, BMW 5 SERIES AND MERcEDES-BENZ E-CLASS
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drive modes are provided to allow drivers to adjust the vehicles performance dynamics for touring, ice and snow, or sport driving. The electronics related the chassis management, A look at the specification sheet reveals the CTS is offered with 10 standard airbags. Taking things a few steps further, an extensive array of optional packages bundle Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, rear Cross Traffic Alert, Safety Alert Seat with haptic feedback, Intellibeam, full-speed Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking, Automatic Collision Preparation and a new Automatic Safety Belt Tightening system that removes slack in the front belts during spirited maneuvers and in the event of a collision. The list of safety equipment is exhaustive, and impressive. Besides offering driver pampering 20 seat adjustments, the new CTS sedan is the first Cadillac to offer Automatic Parking Assist, which enables the car to park itself in parallel spaces. The new CTS is aimed directly at the top end of the midsize luxury sedan crop, including the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6, Jaguar XF and Infiniti M. DRIVING IMPRESSIONS At the regional launch in UAE, we were able to drive and feel both the 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder and the carryover 3.6-litre V6. The smaller engine has already proven its credentials in the ATS and now drafted for duty in the CTS

doesnt disappoint. It is mated to GMs 6L50 sixspeed transmission and this version is AWD. While the V6 is offered with eight-speed Aisin-sourced transmission is a RWD variant. As expected both cars have slightly different performance characteristics on road, but Cadillac engineers have been able to ensure the ride, steering feel and feedback are close to each other. If anyone thought that the smaller in-line four was an afterthought and would be hopelessly outsmarted by the other powertrains, we can assure our readers that this is not a cause for any concern. While the number of cylinders, displacement, weight and output of the engine may be less, where it scores over the V6 is that it generates more torque. This means the turbocharged engine not only is eager when the boost chips in, even in the lower rev bands there is plenty of power available and this ensures the sporty and lively character. In fact, we think it is at par with the Audi TSFI models in terms of charisma. The torque boost from the turbocharged fourcylinder comes in little over 2,000rpm and power delivery from there to the red-line is consistent. Torque reserves are incredible in this car and this aspect makes the car quite a fun bundle despite having two less cogs. In fact, since we drove both variants back to back, the V6 cars eight-speed transmission can appear a little lazy at times and driver needs to prompt shifting manually with the standard paddle shifters, to break the monotony.

Its quite obvious that Cadillac installed the eightspeed transmission with fuel efficiency in mind for global markets. On road, both variants are quite enthusiastic when it comes to acceleration and the electric steering is surprisingly very well-weighed. The feedback to the drivers inputs are well documented and the chassis balance of this mid-sized car [engineers moved the mass back slightly to create a 50-50 weight distribution] can be considered best for handling purposes on most road situations. Since this car is lighter than before, the benefits can be felt. In fact, in the Kalba section of the test drive the CTS felt nimble and it was easy to get a sense of the cars shifting mass in hard cornering without the screeching tyre distraction. Helping the driver talk to the road was the optional three-mode magnetic-ride suspension which also ensured that car felt connected to both driver via its sublime performance. And in Tiptronic mode, the gearing is reorganized for longer torque band width which means greater control for the driver. VERdICT The new CTS is able now to confidently grow out of its predecessors predominantly American image and move into new global territory. With the new profile, it builds up and meets expectations in the class it represents. That Cadillac is serious with its ambitions, heres the proof in the third iteration. The Europeans better watch out.

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COVERSTORY |
2014 Toyota Corolla

EDITorIal NomInee

2013 2012

2014 ToYoTa Corolla mID sIZe seDan

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A cuT ABove THe ReST


The all-new for 2014 eleventh generation Toyota Corolla arguably has a hard act to follow as its still one of the most popular compact sedans not just in the Middle East but all over the world. Automan is among the first to test drive this fully redesigned model in Oman.
Author: Chandan B Mallik | Photography: Elvis John Ferrao

ithout a shade of doubt, the biggest and most significant new Toyota model this year for the region and Oman in particular is the 2014 Toyota Corolla. For the Japanese brand, this global model has always a strong seller, but with fierce competition in the segment, the outgoing generation Corolla was outclassed by more stylish, more fuel-efficient and better-performing rivals in the compact sedan segment. Its no secret that in most markets every significant Corolla competitor has been redesigned over the past few years. And its also a fact that Toyota hasnt failed to recognize. So, what would be Toyotas strategy? Would it succumb to competition, seek a way out or fight back? Knowing Toyota and how it operates, one would have thought that the carmaker would

evolve a successor and hope that the market accepts this. Surprisingly, for all of us, the incoming Corolla represents a revolution more than a mere succession. As a result, the all-new 2014 Corolla is designed new from the ground up and its much bolder than what some conservative Corolla loyalists might have expected it to be. Toyota offers the Corolla in various global markets besides Japan where the domestic models are slightly smaller to comply with tax bands. And in markets like US, the styling of the Corolla is more influenced by the Furia concept. The ASEAN model styling is more influenced by the newer global models sold in the Middle East like the Camry, Yaris or Avalon. And this is what excites us and it should also ignite passions in the segment as well as with Corolla loyalists. With a length of 4,620mm, width of 1,775mm and height of 1,460mm, the incoming

models is slightly longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model. In terms of looks, it sports pleasant sedan proportions where its 2,700mm slightly longer wheelbase contributes in its more athletic proportions with a wider and lower stance. The cars front and rear end have drastically changed in profile and detailing which also communicates continuity and maturity in the brands new styling theme which is already introduced on the larger Camry and Avalon sedan, and also in the smaller recently introduced Yaris. The detailing includes a very strong front-end design with supported by pronounced creaselines on sheetmetal. The design appears youthful and actually lifts the veil of anonymity of the older models and moves it right in front of the trendy lot. In addition, depending on trim levels, LED daytime lights are also now available.

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NOW ENTERING ITS 11TH GENERATION, THE NEW INcOMING COROLLA HAS SEEN SOME SIGNIFIcANT STYLING cHANGES AND SUccESSFULLY MOvES FROM ANONYMITY TO TRENDY

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The interiors of the car proudly complement whats been done outside. Its a sea of change in design, materials and touch points and perceived space. The increased overall length of the car allows a considerable increase in cabin space and a genuinely helps increase rear passenger legroom. The rear seat hip point is moved rearward a full three inches, producing up to 5.1in more rear legroom. As never before, the rear occupant space availability is top notch for three adults. Increased overall vehicle length has also allowed an improved seating position for front occupants in particular. The driver also gets improved ergonomics as the steering column angle has been reduced from 24 to 22. Front seat adjustment range has also increased by over half an inch and while small as these changes sound, one must appreciate the efforts in the tight battle [especially in a compact car] where every increment in useable occupant space is hard-won and always welcome. One of the Corollas strongest suits is its seats. The front seats are absolutely superb, with firm, well-fitted side bolsters and proper lumbar support. And in terms of cargo space in the boot, theres good news, it has grown to 13c-ft, thanks to the increase in overall length of the car. For the Oman market, unlike before where 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre engines were offered for this model, the incoming model will be offered with a healthy choice of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder engines producing 121hp/143hp and . Interestingly, 2.0-litre engine is the first application in a Corolla. This measure will help differentiate the class offerings much better as theres strong competition from Europe, Japan and Korea for this model. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts with a new, more rigid control-arm design and the rear has a torsion beam arrangement. The spring rates on Corolla are said to be relaxed for comfort ride and bushing tuning to offering stiffer handling. The rear torsion beams attachments points are now fastened to the body at a slanted, diagonal angle for its bushings, a departure from the traditional straight attachment orientation, the new layout contributes improves grip, and stability. Safety remains key priority in the new Corolla, with top class active and passive systems on board. standard driver and passenger airbags across all grades. Toyotas Star active safety technology

system, including vehicle stability control, antilock braking, smart stop, and brake assist, is also included standard. From the efficiency perspective, the new model comes equipped with an electric power steering system designed to offer improved directness and weight over the previous hydraulic set-up. DRIVING IMPRESSIONS Our test vehicle for this report was the 2.0-litre set-up and this trim included keyless stop/start

ignition. Weve feel after driving the car in and around Muscat, that while the its performance has struck us as being an agreeable small sedan to drive, but Toyota could have bettered the plot with an additional two cogs or opt for CVT transmission. During hard acceleration, while we were not expecting the timid Corolla to qualify as a sports sedan, it would be fair to say that end of the day the newest Corolla drives much like the previous one, which isnt a bad thing when you consider that Toyota has virtually hallmarked its bulletproof engineering and reliability in this model series.

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In general, the car feels solid, thanks to its structural rigidity and construction and efforts made to reduce wind resistance is commendable. The cars drag coefficient 0.28Cd places it near the top of the current compact sedan class. Meanwhile, the electric steering weight is nice, is precise but can appear numb to those drivers familiar with sporty set-ups because it is overassisted. On the road, the cars MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension provides a comfortable ride and we noted that shock absorber spring compliance is much better with full load of five passengers. The best thing about the new 2.0-litre engine is that it never feels as if its straining to keep up with traffic or unable to deal with the unexpected. Braking duties are attended by a 275mm ventilated front disc, and a 229mm rear drum. Pedal modulation is on the softer side and braking effort linear. Steering lock-to-like is 3.19 turns total and this makes the car easy to manouevre in tight spots. As mentioned before, for the type of engine provided, we feel theres scope for extra cogs and due to the older set up, in place of inspiring

performance, the car offers unpretentiousness that expresses itself as familiar Corolla character. Another observation we have relates to the keyless entry. While it is a handy feature, in the Corolla we find it a bit odd in the way it is programmed to operate. Usually, the driver or passenger has access to any door and the boot if the key fob is within proximity of the car. In the Corolla, the key is programmed to open only the drivers door. This means that the front/rear passenger doors can only be opened when the driver door is opened, ditto with the boot opening arrangement. VERdICT Toyotas Corolla is a perennial favourite among car buyers worldwide and in Middle East due to its solid engineering and reliability credientials. With intense competition coming from Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru in particular, and the new compacts from Europe, Toyota is expected to rely heavily on its longstanding reputation for building compact cars that are affordable, of good quality, and above all, extremely reliable. This means punters can look forward to the most stylish Corolla ever built in two powertrain options and a variety of attractive trim options.

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FIRST RIDE |
Royal Enfield Continental GT Chennai, India-based Royal Enfield recently launched the all-new Continental GT Caf Racer motorcycle. Automan spent quite some time with the bike at the Goa Burn-Up launch programme
Author and photographs: Faisal Khan

BAnkIng On ReTRo
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oyal Enfield is known for making cruiser motorcycles but a quick dip into the history of this old brand will give you a glimpse of what all the company has done in its past. Circa 1960, the company launched the Meteor and Meteor Minor which were the first cafe racer bikes from the company. The Continental GT arrived in 1965 and soon the cafe racer cult saw a sharp following. However by 1985, cafe racer motorcycles were no longer in demand. Fast forward to 2010 and Royal Enfield made a splash by showcasing a cafe racer concept at the 2010 Auto Expo. A couple of years later, the production spec model was showcased and earlier this year, the bike was launched in the UK. After all this wait, Royal Enfield has finally launched the much awaited and highly anticipated Continental GT in the Indian market. Royal Enfield has got the styling of the Continental GT spot on. When viewed in person, it looks the part and is quite an attention grabber. The company has remained true to the original cafe racer and the modern example flaunts the retro design elements proudly. The long tank, alloy spoke wheels, humped back racing seat and

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FIRST RIDE |
Royal Enfield Continental GT

a sensation that the motorcycle has gone on a diet is immediately apparent. Fit and finish levels are very good too and its only when you observe very carefully do you find some rough edges. It does look like a piece of art in red while in yellow, it looks even more appealing. The Continental GT gets a twin pod cluster with the left side housing the speedometer (marked both in km/hr and mph) and a small LCD screen with a digital display showcasing twin tripmeter, odometer and fuel level. The switchgear is familiar to other Royal Enfield bikes and feels good to operate. Our test bike was equipped with optional bar end mirrors which take a bit to get used to but once you get the hang of it, you will appreciate them. The Continental GT is registered and homologated as a single-seater. Royal Enfield claims the Continental GT is the fastest, lightest and most powerful motorcycle from their stable. Powering the flagship thumper is the same old engine which does duty in the Classic 500 and Thunderbird 500 but this one has been given increased capacity at 535cc with a bore up and ECU remap. The increase in displacement has also seen an increase in output which now

reads 29.1bhp at 5,100rpm and 44Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. So the Continental GT isnt very powerful considering the cubic capacity of the motor. At 184kg it isnt very light either. RIdING IMPRESSIONS It may be touted as the fastest Royal Enfield, but definitely but not a very fast sports bike per se. The problem lies with the motor which doesnt offer the performance you would expect from a modern cafe racer. The single-cylinder mill has lots of flat spots in the bottom end of the power band and you need to push the engine hard to get past this. The mid-range torque is impressive which ensures the bike is most relaxed within the 2,0004000rpm range. Post 4,000rpm, the weaknesses of the chassis mounts are evident with a lot of vibration which filters through to the rider. The engine redline is at 5,700rpm with a rough cut off and coarse engine sound. It does thump with aural bliss right from start, up to 4,000rpm. However our test bike had an aftermarket performance exhaust which is part of the option list. The Continental GT reaches 100km/hr in third gear and you can cruise comfortably at that speed in fifth gear with the tacho needle hovering around at 3,500rpm. Top speed is about 140 km/h, however

the incessant vibrations post 100 km/hr can be felt through the handles, tank, seat and footpegs which hamper high speed riding. The gearbox is average and there are many false neutrals although the clutch is light and well weighed. Our test bike had done less than 300 kms and the vibrations should reduce post first service. One can expect a mileage of 27-30 km/l from this machine (ARAI certified is 41.9 km/l). The handling of the bike is better than the power delivery. This is because the rear suspension uses Paioli twin gas-charged shocks at the rear (UKs Harrison Engineering helped in the development) the Continental GT is a bit stiffly sprung which gives it good dynamics. Ride quality isnt stiff but absorbent and there is no bounciness at speed. Straight line stability is excellent too and its really the super awesome Pirelli Sport Demon tyres which lend the Continental GT amazing grip through corners. Turn-in isnt quick and the bike isnt flickable which is expected but the Continental GT can be a lot of fun through the twisties. The Continental GT gets clip-on handle bars and the seating position is by far the sportiest of any Royal Enfield bike but the saddle is itself wide and

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ROYAL ENFIELd WILL OFFER PERFORMANCE PARTS ALSO AS ENHANCEd PACKAGE OPTION
We also had a chance to interact with the technical team of Royal Enfield and got some insight on the development of the motorcycle. The Continental GT is a completely grounds-up machine with the only part used from existing bikes being the engine, which was reworked to boost output and enable cleaner revving. However the vibrations are still there and we were quite keen on knowing why the vibes werent removed. Royal Enfield is completely aware about the vibrations on the UCE engine but the companys engineers dont want to kill the character of the motor by changing too much on it. We suggested going for liquid-cooling, adding counter balancers and rubber mounts but the technical team reverted saying they tried all this but it only removed 20 percent of the vibrations and couldnt completely eradicate it. Using a long stroke motor enables a good mid-range and gives the engine the character it has (the exhaust thump, high torque and the powerplant feeling alive). The drawback is the vibrations and coarseness near the redline. Besides, most Royal Enfield fans love the character of the UCE mill and dont mind the vibrations that much. That said, Royal Enfield is working on improving this engine even further for future models which could be underpinned by the tubular steel frame which made its debut on the Continental GT. The 2013 Continental GT is a modern take on the 1965 Continental GT and when you view both bikes together, you can easily make out the similarities. Royal Enfield has done a fantastic job by doing justice to the original cafe racer. The Continental GT which we rode at the media ride had an aftermarket exhaust while the stock exhaust isnt as loud. The bike also had bar end mirrors which are supplied as optional. Due to Indian motor vehicle regulations, motorcycles are required to be fitted with 80mm round mirrors and hence the bar end mirrors cant be offered as standard. These mirrors are fantastic and once you are used to it, you will love the rear visibility it gives, while looking super cool in the process. They are coated with titanium dioxide for a clearer vision. The Conti is the first bike in India to use spoke wheels made of aluminium. For the Indian market, there is no saree guard on the Royal Enfield Continental GT and thats because the bike has been homologated as a single seater. Customers can always opt for the double seat which is offered as an accessory at the dealer end. Royal Enfield urges buyers to make changes to their CGTs including power boosts and the company will offer power parts as well. However modifications done outside the company will void the warranty. The Royal Enfield Continental GT is the fastest, lightest and most powerful bike from the company in production currently. It reaches 0-100 km/hr in around 10 seconds while the true top speed is 135 km/ hr. ARAI certified mileage is 41.9 km/l. The bike is available in two colours and deliveries will start in January for red colour and April for yellow colour.

the cushioning on the seats is on the softer side saving your derrire on long rides. The riding position isnt aggressive and all this makes riding the bike for long durations an easy task. The footpegs are a bit rear set but offer comfort. Armed with Brembo discs at the front and rear with steel braided lines, the bike offers excellent stopping power and the braking performance benefits from the fantastic Pirelli rubber as well (100 section front and 130 section rear). VERdICT The Royal Enfield Continental GT is a very different kind of motorcycle. It isnt the usual motorcycle which you ride and see everyday, nor is it a usual Royal Enfield, a shift away from cruisers for the British brand. While it doesnt have the most potent engine around, the Continental GT does please with its torquey thump and well balanced dynamics. Royal Enfield is going the long haul in bringing back cafe racer culture of the 60s and 70s, a brave move considering the Continental GT is the only cafe racer of its kind on sale today. The Continental GT isnt about speed, nor is it about reaching from point A to point B. The GT is something else, its an experience, its motorcycling of a different kind.

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FIRST RIDE |

2014 Harley-Davidsons

HoggIngTHe LImeLIgHT
With a new customer-centric approach and significant changes to their hardware, HarleyDavidson are attempting to raise their presence in the region Author : Raj Warrior
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e dont know what is more incongruous the fact that a major ride event of motorcycles set off from the corporate offices of the manufacturer or that you actually have a motorcycle placed bang in the centre of that office on the 48th floor of a building? The usual event would start after a briefing in the dealership or a five-star hotels conference room and the bikes would be outside waiting for you. It tells you a lot about Harley-Davidsons nononsense approach in that they expect you to be part of their world. Of course there is no dichotomy about this approach you are welcomed in with a minimum of fuss but are immediately at home in a workplace that matches the rebellious attitude of the brand. The H-D team reflects that attitude the most formal bit of the interaction we had was the exchange of visiting cards. So, among the breakfast sandwiches and coffee, we were taken through H-Ds new approach including the two most significant moves, Project Rushmore and the introduction of the two new Street bikes. Project Rushmore is the corporate plan by which customer feedback has been channeled into new products. This new approach has seen traditional shortcomings being addressed and new features introduced in the 2014 range, covering seven model series at the outset and across four broad streams that include styling, feel, control and infotainment. Of course the styling elements are thankfully incremental, not revolutionary. Like the storage box that gets a one-touch clasp release and reshaped fenders. Theres no danger of a Harley looking like anything else! Its in the other departments that the significant changes have happened the switches have been repositioned, better lighting and brake elements and the engines have been addressed, including the introduction of a dual cooling circuit on some powertrains that uses both air and liquid to boost cooling, thereby allowing for higher output. In the 103 cu-in powertrain that doesnt use this, there has been a smaller increase due to retuning. A larger part of the presentation was focused on

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the two new Street bikes the 500 and 750 that have been born of the brands move into new markets around the world. Powered by one of two variants of the Revolution-X engine, the Street is the companys first completely new platform in 13 years (with the last significant new platform being the V-Rod) and seeks to establish itself as an urban icon with its low riding position, wide handlebars and narrow chassis. Production for the Middle East address deliveries in 2015, so we still have some time to wait for the bikes, but the bigger issue is that production will be in India, while US based production is meant only for the US. Many countries in the region have FTAs in place with the US and sourcing their bikes from the US would mean a price advantage in the market. What remains to be seen is how much of a new customer base the Street draws in the region? Of course the ride didnt start from the 48th floor. Instead, post the ride briefing, we went down to

the basement garage where the bikes were parked and each picked up a bike, with the understanding that we would rotate through the model range over the two days of riding. The first bike that we picked up was the Fat Bob. The 2014 bike we rode had the full black treatment. Twin headlights, with a jeweled twin taillight rendition that matched the cut-away feel of the two exhaust tips, the revelation of the bike is in how well it has been tuned for ride and feel now. Over the two days of riding, we didnt feel as comfortable on any other bike from the stance, to the seating position, to the perfect balance of power and torque that comes through on the sixspeed transmission, you have nothing to complain about. We got a long outward leg on the bike, absolutely loving its balance on the winding ramp as we exited the parking, its low-end torque through the traffic lights and its breadth of performance as we got out into the open. At some stages you think that six speeds is a bit of an overkill on this beauty of an engine, but then thats the sort of future-proofing thats coming through on Project Rushmore. The next switch was over to the 1200 Sportster. Now thats not something we recommend you do if possible always switch the other way. Theres absolutely nothing wrong with the 70 odd footpounds of torque that the engine delivers, nor the five-speed gearbox. But it falls short of the almost 100 foot-pounds of the Fat Bob, although it still has a wicked torque kick in the second gear. But the bike is nimble for a Harley on its 59.8 wheelbase

and carries almost no deadweight. As its name declares its sporty at heart and communicates it with its performance through the roundabouts and tight parking lots. But the seating position definitely needs a bit of bolstering around the coccyx. The next switch was over to a rather beautiful specimen of the Heritage Softtail Classic. The feel of this bike is extraordinary. You expect a Heritage bike to feel traditional and that it does. But the chassis is tuned to a T; ride quality is right up there close to perfection and you cannot feel the bulk of the bike once it gets moving. If we had any complaint at all it was that it was so softly sprung (compared to the hard-riding quality we are used to from our normal sports bikes). But then it is supposed to be the best handling bike once you get comfortable with its 761 pounds of weight and rather short 64.4 wheelbase. Despite the hardtail look of the rear, this softtail hides its shocks well behind the bulk of the saddlebags. After another session on the Sportster, entailed by a small tryout on the Trike that saw most of the riders leave, we got on the V-Rod. The Trike is an interesting piece of machinery that needs getting used to you dont lean into a turn, you have to use bodyweight to turn the steering. And of course sharp turns lighten the load on the inside rear wheel causing the wheel to lift! Or at least to give you the impression that its doing something funny. Not a chance that we want to take, especially when the weather was turning bad in the hilly region near the Oman-UAE border! So we were back on the Sportster, this time with its clip-on windscreen

and that did remove some of the violent buffeting at speed. The next switch before we reached our night halt at Ras Al Khaimah saw us switch to the V-Rod Muscle. Okay, now thats a Harley that seems so different from the rest of the breed because of its Porsche-designed profile, its sleek contours and its 122 horsepower and 86 ft lbs of torque. The V-Rod bridges the divide between H-D and the rest of the bikes out there, complete with LED lighting, 240mm rear tyre and exhausts on either side. Also the fuel filler shifts to below the seat. This bike is a completely different breed you dont feel the torque till you are ready to dial it in, but the powertrain is so responsive that you can absolutely burn the rubber whenever you please. It is inherently perfectly balanced, with an aggressive 32-degree lean angle possible with its 66.9 wheelbase and 673 lb weight. However the one drawback for us was that despite the upper body now tilting ahead, the bike still has the forward positioned foot controls that H-D prefer. It takes a bit of getting used to but once you are settled in you connect very well with the bike. In fact the second day of riding got shortened to an almost shortest route run straight back to the Dubai office due to the weather worsening. Almost the entire run was accompanied by pelting rain and we were still on the V-Rod, thanking its poise as we powered through at 140 km/h in a convoy overtaking cars driving at half our speed with their blinkers switched on.

PREVIEW |
Chevrolet Trax SUV

hevrolet is no newcomer when it comes to building SUVs. The bowtie brand has an appropriate product in almost every segment and with the Trax, its all-new compact SUV, Chevrolet virtually completes the line-up. The Trax is mechanically based on the GM Gamma II platform, which is also shared with the Opel Mokka. Dimensionally it is pleasantly proportioned as it measures 4,248mm in length, 1,776 mm in width and 1,674 mm in height and is expected to hit the right spot in the European B-segment. The cars Europe inspired interiors is modern and marries technology and practicality. Convenience features include digital readouts with analog displays, 60:40 split rear seats and a front passenger seat that can be folded flat. Stowage amenities in car are plentiful and it accommodate a maximum of 1,370 litres worth of cargo. Additional space is available under the cargo floor. Up to eight seating combinations are possible. Upper trims of the Chevrolet Trax will feature Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system as standard. Various petrol and diesel powertrains will be offered depending on market

specifics. We expect the cars heading our way will comprise a 1.4-litre turbocharged or normally aspirated 1.6-litre four cylinder engines. When Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the former cranks out 140hp and torque of 200Nm. All manual transmission variants come with Start/Stop functionality. The turbo engine will also be offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox. An AWD system will be available on variants equipped with the 1.4 turbo setup. The system automatically adapts to the prevalent road conditions and significantly improves traction on slippery or graveled roads. On the safety front, apart from a unibody structure consisting of high-strength steels, Trax will boast six standard airbags, a releasable pedal assembly and three-point seatbelts on all seats. The Trax will also benefit from Electronic Stability Control (ESC) including Hill Start Assist (HSA), Traction Control (TC), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution. Hill Descent Control (HDC) is standard on LT trim vehicles.

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At the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the all-new Chevrolet Trax celebrated its world premiere, representing Chevrolets first entry to the fastgrowing small SUV segment

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PREVIEW |

Ford Atlas pick-up concept

The Atlas concept truck gives a hint about where Ford will take the next generation best selling pick-up
he US and some global markets like the Middle East are very important for lifestyle pick-up truck makers. Its a segment thats dominated mainly by North American brands GMC, Chevrolet, Ram and Ford. Fords best seller for years has been the F-150, which is offered in many variants. Of late, Chevrolet and GMC in particular have been on an overdrive with all-new versions of the Silverado and Sierra respectively, while non-American brand Toyota has launched its new Tundra. And then there are reports about a possible new product from Ram too. Ford is determined to maintain its leadership in the pick-up segment. Earlier in the year, at the Detroit Auto Show, the automaker unveiled the Atlas concept truck. The custom fibre glass hand crafted concept uses the mechanicals an existing F-150 and boast of extra length. The V6 powertrain is also carried over which in this case is a twin-turbo EcoBoost set-up offering 365hp and 420lb-

ft of torque. An engine start/stop function sync the towing requirements automatically. Ford will utilise the concept to gauge customers reactions to new features like active shutters in the wheel rims which close at speed for less aerodynamic drag and a cargo cradle that rises from the tailgate when its closed. Its designed to carry long objects easily. Besides these theres concealed cargo storage ramps beneath the bed and can be installed quickly to load items like motorcycles or lawn mowers. Inside the cabin is a mix of luxury and host of practical features. The seats are lined in butter-soft leather but have no cushioning. The switches are locked in place, and the screens for the instrument panel and dashboard are controlled by a laptop hidden from sight. The concept truck also was shown in Dubai.

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PREVIEW |

Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe

That a statement relating to a stylish derivative of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class would follow was just a matter of time
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he arrival of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class earlier in the year heralded a new chapter for the brand and as it transpires, it was just the beginning of a era that would soon see the hierarchy maintained. We are aware that traditionally at the top of the Mercedes-Benz product range, theres always been a grand coup and the simple question was when? That querry was answered at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the form of the Concept S-Class Coupe. And with the concept car making previews at major auto shows around the world, weve been tracking its progress with interest. The reason for unprecedented interest in this car is because the companys has deliberately moved away from the short-lived CL-Class designation. With the planned production version of a coupe scheduled to once again sell under the S-Class moniker makes proper sense in terms of designation and direction. As is the styling of this coupe, which offers a CLA-style nose on a larger canvas, yet its front end has more presence thanks to its longer GT like front end and

intricate grille design. As is the tradition with other big Mercedes-Benz coupes, the Concept S-Class has a pillar-free greenhouse to give the cabin an airy feel. Despite being labeled as concept, this concept is powereb by a 4.6-litre twinturbo V8 generating 449hp and 516lb-ft of torque. And as always, at some point there will be an AMG variant too subtle hint comes in the form of power domes on the bonnet. The interior pays tribute to the S-Class sedans Designo bespoke appointments. Changes over the sedan include a three-spoke steering wheel and a central console-mounted bank of world time zone clocks, presumably a concept-only feature. Mercedes have also previewed some new technologies in this car like LED lamps, Intelligent Drive which uses two camera eyes to capture threedimensional views of the area up to about 50m in front of the vehicle, and as 6DVision can detect the position and movement of objects.

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MOTORSPORTS |

FeLIPe MASSA joInS WILLIAmS


Felipe had to say in an interview with Andrea Cremonesi in an interview in todays Gazzetta dello Sport, as part of the build up to the 2013 Finali Mondiali, which gets underway today and goes on until Sunday at the Mugello circuit. The event will also serve as tribute that Ferrari wishes to pay to Felipe, who as stated in the headline to this story, will always be a Ferrari man. Ten years at Ferrari, a racing life. Only Michael Schumacher wore the red race suit for longer than Felipe Massa, who leaves Maranello at the end of the year. Wearing that red suit, the Brazilian came within touching distance of taking the world title in 2008, but he also almost lost his life at the 2009 Hungarian GP. The party in Mugello will feature the final huge Ferrari crowd: how will you feel going to the event in Tuscany? With happiness in my heart, because it will be wonderful to salute the fans to thank them for all the years we have spent together. They have always supported me, even in the most difficult times. Eight years as race driver: whats the secret to staying such a long time at Ferrari? I have always behaved honestly and have given my all in my work on the track, with the engineers and in the factory. I think I have always acted very professionally. Do you remember your first day? It was early 2001 and I had come off the back of a season in F. Renault with Cram: I went to meet Jean Todt in a jacket and tie. Very tense and I was shaking. The best moment of this long adventure in red? Definitely 2008 when I came that close to the world title, with many wins and poles. But the day that will always stay with me was the one of my first win in Brazil (2006.) For a Brazilian to win at home is like taking the championship. Remember Senna? When he won in Interlagos he was happier than when he won the championship! I learned to race in Interlagos, I grew up there: to win there in a Ferrari wearing a green and yellow suit (not the usual red one, Editors note) was the best moment of my life. How do you explain to a youngster joining the FDA what it means to be a Ferrari driver? Mm, well first that its hard to get in! Because the selection of drivers is a tough process and its already a privilege to be part of the reds. And then, driving for this team means always being under the spotlight, you must always push to the maximum without worrying what people will say about you. Its like being in a National football team, driving for Ferrari is like being in the Italian football team or playing for Selecao. You have to be prepared. After the accident in 2009, did your priorities in life change? No absolutely not. Only that now I value life more. Because you always think nothing can happen to you and then Stefano Domenicali said that he always considered you as a world champion after 2008. Did you sense that? 100% yes. I deserved the title, taking into account the season and everything that happened Sebastian Vettel took his fourth title this

fter months of behind-the-scenes haggling and jockeying for position, it also appears as if the remaining pieces in the 2014 driver line-up jigsaw are finally falling into place. Outgoing Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has been handed a F1 lifeline after signing a deal to join Williams for 2014 as a replacement for Pastor Maldonado. The Brazilian, dropped by the Scuderia after eight years of service in favour of Kimi Raikkonen, has put pen to paper on a multi-year contract with the Grove outfit to partner Valtteri Bottas. He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track, enthused team boss Sir Frank Williams. He also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story. The news ensures that F1 is guaranteed to have a Brazilian presence on the grid next term with Massa, who came within a whisker of winning the 2008 Drivers Championship, following a path already familiar to a number of his compatriots in joining Williams. Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One. It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team, said Massa, who also revealed he held talks with McLaren, Lotus, Force India and Sauber before opting to transfer to Williams. Meanwhile, Maldonado is expected to join Sauber, with Nico Hulkenberg seemingly in pole position to take Raikkonens place at Lotus. That leaves McLaren as the burning topic of conversation inside the paddock, following the revelation that the team is seriously considering replacing Sergio Perez with Kevin Magnussen. At the end of the year, Felipe Massa and Ferrari will go their separate ways in racing terms, but the affection that links the Brazilian to the team with which he grew up, as a driver and a man, will always be strong. That is clear from what

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year: are those titles more down to him or his team? It is 100% down to him and his car. Because its true he drives the quickest and most consistent car. But then its he who manages to extract its potential, who takes pole, who puts 6 tenths over on everyone, including his team-mate! Hes a fantastic driver. Lets play at defining the men who have been your bosses, starting with Luca di Montezemolo. He is a big hearted person, and an able promoter. He knows how to describe and sell the idea of Ferrari. He is the right man for the job of president and Im not just talking about the racing. He has an enormous aptitude for representing the company. Jean Todt. My best teacher. I first knew him when I was 19 and he has been the most important person in my career. Rob Smedley, his race engineer. He has played an important role in my career. When I first raced for Ferrari my race engineer was Gabrielle Delli Colli, but things didnt go as they should have done and so I chose Rob who was there at the start and was with the test team (he came from Jordan, Editors note.) He knows me 100%. You have had many team-mates, which was the strongest? Fernando. Schumacher was as quick, but in terms of intelligence, Alonso is better because he manages to put everything together perfectly. Ferrari started 2013 strongly but then it stalled. At the start of the year, the car was competitive, but the mistake was that we didnt manage to develop it as we should have done and as others did. The performance difference in this final part of the championship is down to a car that was not developed in the right way. Are you already thinking what you will do after F1? I love racing, its part of my life and makes me happy. Maybe after F1 Ill try my hand at some other category. Which ones would you like? DTM or Brazilian Stock Cars.

GIve me ReD
Current Lotus F1 driver Kimi Rikknen expects his fortunes to reverse in 2014 with Ferrari
Kimi Rikknen has had a troubled 2013 with Lotus and is counting the days of remainder of this year. Well acquainted with Ferrari in his previous assignment, Rikknen has fond memories with the Red team. He won the 2007 World Championship with Ferrari but eventually quit in 2009, despite having one more year remaining on his contract. He will now race alongside current Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso starting in 2014 and has signed on for at least two years. I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years, Rikknen said in a statement. I have so many memories of my time at Ferrari, memories which have stayed with me these past years, first and foremost, winning the World Championship title in 2007, which was really unforgettable. I cant wait to be driving a Prancing Horse car again and to reacquaint myself with so many people with whom I had such close links, as well as working with Fernando, whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves, he added.

EccLeSTone ALLegeDLY PAID TeAm oWneRS BRIBeS To PASS ConcoRD AgReemenT


Reports from UK are suggesting that Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of Formula One, paid three team principals - Eddie Jordan, Alain Prost and the late Tom Walkinshaw - $10mn each to sign the 1998 Concorde Agreement. This is yet another blow in Ecclestones on-going trial over bribery charges to a German banker, although the English billionaire hardly seems concerned over the revelation. In fact, Ecclestone has been charged with bribery in Germany, over allegations that he paid a banker to undervalue shares of Formula One during a sale to a group called CVC Capital Partners. German media firm Constantin Medien alleges that this move cost it heavy commissions, which it is now attempting to get back with $62.2mn damages claim. Philip Marshal, the representative for Constantin, brought up the Concorde Agreement payments during cross-examination. They were paid to ensure that their teams did sign. Isnt that right? asked Philip Marshall. Ecclestone simply responded, Yes, according to a report from The Telegraph. Marshall then went on to explain Ecclestones view on bribes - that they arent illegal unless theyre paid to public figures. Marshall emphasized this, asking, Did you regard the payment of bribes to people who are not public officials as acceptable? This wasnt a bribe that youre referring to, Ecclestone answered. While it seems unlikely that events of 15 years ago will come back to bite Jordan or Prost, the news that Ecclestone isnt above paying people to sign legal documents is an admission that probably isnt good for his legal defence. Automans take Concorde being a commercial rights agreement that governs the split of monies generated by the sport between the FIA, the teams and the Formula One Administration.

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MOTORSPORTS | REGIONAL

FIA WEC In BAHRAIn SAW Some unexPecTeD ReSuLTS

TOYOtA RACING TEAM wINs LAst RACE IN FIA WEC sEAsON ANd ANNOUNCE BRItIsH tEst ANd REsERvE dRIvER FOR 2014 Toyota Racing secured their second win of the 2013 season with victory in the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Anthony Davidson, Sbastien Buemi and Stphane Sarrazin put in a commanding performance in the number 8 TS030 Hybrid at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, taking the chequered flag more than a minute clear of their nearest challengers. The result delivered on a dominant qualifying performance, which saw the number 7 Toyota of Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima and Alex Wurz claim pole ahead of their team-mates. Lapierre held the race lead until being delayed by traffic just after an hour, allowing Buemi to come through. The number 8 car then made a clear run to the finish, with Davidson contributing a double stint from just over half distance. The number 7 Toyota held second until being sidelined by a technical issue after two

hours and 64 laps. The result took Toyota Racings season tally to 152.5 points and second place in the manufacturers championship, with two wins, six podiums and three pole positions. Meanwhile, Audi finished the year in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain in second place. The World Championship winning team had to admit defeat only for the second time in eight races and can look back on a highly successful sporting season. Until shortly before the races midpoint, Audi Sport Team Joest was in a promising position in the final 6-hour race of the year. Loc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB) in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, with a gap of about 15 seconds, were running within striking distance of the leading Toyota. Then, on lap 95, Duval reported a problem in the power transmission system over the radio. For the first time in 23 races which the various Audi R18 models have completed since 2011, a technical defect resulted in retirement. Marcel Fssler/Andr Lotterer/Benot Trluyer (CH/D/F) subsequently took over second place from their team-mates. After 3:33

hours of racing, the stewards of the meeting imposed a drive-through penalty against Marcel Fssler for overtaking under yellow flags. Consequently, the number 1 R18 e-tron quattro lost more than one minute and, after six hours of racing, crossed the finish line in second place. AstON MARtIN RACING dIsAPPOINtEd Aston Martin Racing finished second in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) after an eventful final round of the series, the Six Hours of Bahrain, which saw the British racing team denied the manufacturers world championship title in the final hour. After an intense, season-long battle with Ferrari and Porsche, the team went into the final round leading the LMGTE Manufacturers World Cup. Luck, however, was not on the side of the team and, after 109 laps of the International Circuit of Bahrain, the #97 Vantage GTE was forced to retire leaving the #99 and #95 Vantage GTEs to battle on to try and score enough points.

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EmIRATI FIgHTS BAck WITH PoWeRFuL SeconD-Leg SuRge BeFoRe SuFFeRIng LATe exIT

heikh Khalid Al Qassimis brave bid to give the UAE victory in the 35th Dubai International Rally was frustrated last month as Qatars Nasser Al Attiyah survived a powerful second leg charge by the Emirati driver to win the final round of the FIA Middle East Championship. Trailing Al Attiyah by 29.7 seconds overnight, Al Qassimi produced a brilliant surge to win the first four of the days six special stages in his Abu Dhabi Citron Total DS3 and pile the pressure on the nine-times Middle East champion. But with his advantage reduced to 15.4 seconds, Al Attiyah fought back to take the next two stages, and Al Qassimi suffered a frustrating anti-climax when he was forced out of the event by a double puncture shortly after completing the final stage. His departure meant that Al Attiyah, partnered by Giovanni Bernacchini in a Ford Fiesta RRC, won by 5min 33.6 secs from Qatars 2010 Middle East champion, Misfer Almarri. I had a good strategy, said Al Attiyah. I was careful because I didnt want to get any punctures. Khalid took the risks and Im happy to win. It was a good fight and this is what we need for the championship to improve. Finishing third in another Ford Fiesta was the UAEs Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, brother of Sheikh Khalid and runner-up in Dubai last year. After a ten-second time penalty on Fridays first leg had presented him with a mountain to climb, Sheikh Khalid produced the perfect response over the second legs first loop of three stages, winning them all alongside Scott Martin

in his Abu Dhabi Citron to move within 19.8 seconds of the lead. He was looking to complete one of the biggest fightbacks in recent Middle East Championship history and become the first UAE winner of the Dubai International Rally since his own second successive victory in 2006. The fightback continued as he clawed back another 4.4 seconds on the next stages, but Al Attiyah was not to be denied his seventh successive win in Dubai. The consolation for Al Qassimi was in seeing the four young Abu Dhabi Racing drivers he has guided into this years Middle East Championship all finishing in the top ten in Dubais traditional final round of the series. With Jordanian driver Alaa Rasheed finishing fourth, Majed Al Shamsi produced a mature drive to take fifth place overall and win the Group N production class in partnership with John Higgins. The UAEs Rashid Al Ketbi completed the top six. It was a good day also for Al Shamsis three other Abu Dhabi Racing team-mates. Finishing seventh overall alongside Nicolas Klinger, Bader Al Jabri was runnerup in Group N and also finished third in the category in the Middle East Championship. Mohammed Al Sahlawi, driving an Abu Dhabi Citron DS3 R3 2WD to 9th place overall alongside Allan Harryman, captured the Middle East 2WD and Junior titles ahead of team-mate Mohamed Al Mutawaa, who finished 10th overall and runner up in both classes

with Stephen McAuley. Finishing 11th overall, Kuwaits Meshari Al Thefiri won the Middle East Group N title. The biggest casualty of the day was Saudi Arabias Yazeed Al Rajhi, a WRC2 rally winner on this years World Championship stage, whose Ford Fiesta RRC went out at the end of the days first of six special stages after multiple punctures. PROvIsIONAL REsULts: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah / Giovanni Bernacchini (QAT / ITA) / Ford Fiesta RRC 2:01:11.9 2. Misfer Almarri / Nicola Arena (QAT / ITA) / Ford Fiesta RRC 2:06:45.5 3. Abdulla Al Qassimi / Steve Lancaster (UAE / UK) / Ford Fiesta RRC 2:07.40.3 4. Alaa Rasheed / Joseph Matar (JOR / LBN) / Ford Fiesta RRC 2:15:57.9 5. Majed Al Shamsi / John Higgins (UAE / IRL) / Suburu Impreza N15 2:16:09.5 6. Rashid Al Ketbi / Khalid Al Kendi (ARE / ARE) / Ford Fiesta RRC 2:16:29.6 7. Bader Al Jabri / Nicolas Klinger (UAE / France) / Suburu Impreza N15 2:18:04.7 8. Abdulla Al Kuwari / Khalid Al Kendi (Qatar/ UAE) Mitsubishi Evo 9 2:25:44.2 9. Mohammed Al Sahlawi / Allan Harryman (UAE / UK) / Citroen DS3 R3 2:26:29.2 10. Mohammed Al Mutawaa / Stephen McAuley (UAE / UK) / Citroen DS3 R3 2:29:14.7

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CHIcAneOpINION |

THE ARGUMENt OVER SUBSIDIES

If there has been one consistent message that has come out of the global financial crisis it is one of getting your financial house in order. That is a lesson that most of us individuals learn as adults live within your means, dont spend tomorrows income today and save for a rainy day. I have said this before in these columns, that somehow as the decision-making process spreads outwards from the individual into the collective, these hoary lessons loose their meaning. The larger the group of people, the more we seem to believe in the power of the collective. Oddly enough that is why insurance works because of the law of averages (or statistics as the case may be) decides the actuarial rate. So a person who wouldnt normally take a loan is now able to decide to leverage on behalf of a company or association, enabling the company to meet its business goals and grow. This growth then allows them to meet their financial obligations. Take this approach several levels larger and your generally see how governments around the world have managed to raise debt that is now being measured in multiples of their GDP. The collective makes it possible to leverage their capital and fuel growth. But all parts of the collective are not equal. All members do not feel growth of an economy equally and the ability to either contribute or benefit from the collective is varied. Thats where the subsidy helps. In most cases a subsidy is targeted, in some cases it is across the board. Several high-profile announcements in the region have now drawn attention to subsidies on food items, energy and utilities in particular. Some subsidies will continue despite all arguments like those towards education, health and higher technical training - as governments empower their citizens to become fullfledged contributors to their national economies. As a result of having a good run financially due to the relatively high and stable price of crude, this cost of subsidy has not really been felt till date. So it seems appropriate that the questions are being raised well in time. Do you change existing subsidy models to target benefits at those who need it the most? Or do you reduce subsidies across the board to get people to contribute equally? One of the elements that may be hit first is the price of petrol. It seems fair at first glance that fuel prices in the region are among the cheapest in the world after all isnt the raw stock just a drill head away? The fact is that after the cost of refining and pitting it against the demand from around the world, fuel costs more than we pay at the pump. And we live as if that will stay the case forever. When we buy a car we want the biggest

Raj Warrior is editor of Automan and has been in the thick of the Automotive journalism field from the past 15 years.

engine and the most power even if our need is only for a shopping transport. Car manufacturers see the GCC countries as almost the last bastion of market support for their large V8 engines, clunky old automatic gearboxes and yesterdays technology. Ive just made the switch to a 1.6-litre turbo engine in a car that is still finding it hard to be accepted by the general market because its a large sedan with a tiny engine. Not too many people will be following in my footsteps. But then why would you when fuel is only 120 Baiza a litre?

Want to comment or have your say? Email at raj@alroya.net. Identify yourself or your message will be trashed and your id blocked

The same approach sees us still live with ancient window air-conditioners and bathtubs in a country where a large part of our domestic water is produced through energy-intensive desalination. So we have tubs filled with drinking water, air-conditioners that are left on all day and water heaters that are used to heat water in summer as well. I suffer the chills of a typical frozen GCC hotel interior to drive a V8-powered car out into the blazing desert sun. Somehow it doesnt seem out of place but all of that is powered by a benevolent subsidy regime that is increasingly under pressure. And it is about time.

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