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2012 Beijing Auto Show: India bound

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What is it?

The Mercedes-Benz CLS’s younger sibling, the CSC.


Why is it important?

The CSC is what Mercedes calls a design exercise, but we reckon it figures in the company’s plans for India. It’s only a concept for now, but all signs point to it being built on the next generation C-Class platform.

The CLS-Class, when it came out, took the market by storm, with manufacturers scrambling to get their own models into that segment. This smaller one hopes to do the same at a more affordable price point. The platform itself will be a front-wheel-drive based one, so this will either come with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive options.

When will India get it?

Late 2014, if our predictions are correct.

 

What is it?

A mid-life refresh for Audi’s Q5.

Why is it important?

With the imminent launch of the Q3 SUV and the recent refresh of the Q7, it was the Q5’s turn to get freshened up. The facelift brings new headlights, a new bumper and grille up front, new tail-lights and a bumper at the back to round off the exterior changes. On the inside, you’ll find that everything has been tweaked subtly. A little chrome trim here and some different materials there. The chassis also sees some improvement. Front and rear suspension settings are revised to give it better ride quality than the outgoing model. Internationally, it even gets a couple of new engine options, but for our market, we’ll still get the 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre diesels.

When will India get it?

Well, they do call it the 2013 Audi Q5, so...

 

What is it?

The BMW 3 Series, which rivals the 5 Series in terms of comfort.

Why is it important?

China is a market where the long wheelbase (LWB) version of a car outsells the shorter version by quite a margin. So much so that BMW makes a 3 Series and 5 Series long wheelbase model just for that market. Considering the fact that most 3 Series owners here are also chauffeur driven anyway, it couldn’t hurt to have that extra leg room at the back, eh?

The wheelbase of this 3 series is longer than the standard model by about 110 mm, bringing it within 50 mm of the 5 Series. This addition in length is definitely welcome, considering the fact that the 3 Series is known for having cramped quarters at the back. For the Chinese market, it is available in 320Li, 328Li and 335Li variants, though we’d be perfectly happy with a 320Ld model.

When will India get it?

Not just yet. Even though there are rumours floating around that it will get here soon after the next generation 3 series model later in the year. We just hope it actually makes it to the country.

 

What is it?

The new Ford EcoSport.

Why is it important?

It’s the latest small SUV to make its way into the country. The EcoSport is based on the current Ford Fiesta and will make for a great compact SUV for the city. Powering this car will be a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged engine good for 118 bhp. The small size of the engine combined with the turbos enables it to be as powerful as a larger engine while offering much better fuel economy. The one we’re interested in though, is the diesel-engined variant that will come with the 1.5-litre unit from the new Fiesta.

India will be one of the major hubs for production of the EcoSport, with the other two being Brazil and Thailand. It exceeds the four-metre length barrier by a small amount, but is still likely to be priced very well.

When will India get it?

It will head for launch late this year or early next year.

 

What is it?

An American car with an Italian badge — the Fiat Viaggio.

Why is it important?

The D-segment is taking off, in terms of sales, and this model presents the perfect opportunity for Fiat to start competing against Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics on Indian soil. Dodge (which was recently acquired by the Fiat group) manufactured the Dart that was loosely based off the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. So, what you’re looking at here is essentially the Italian rebadge of an American car based on an Italian car. Phew! That’s complicated.

Engine choices for the Viaggio include a 1.4-litre motor that either makes 120 bhp (the same as in the Linea T-Jet) or 150 bhp of peak power depending on the trim level you choose. Either a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch transmission will take care of gear changing duties. With those brilliant multi-jet engines in their stable, we won’t be surprised if one of them finds its way under the hood of the Viaggio.

When will India get it?

As soon as Fiat can plonk a diesel engine under the hood.

 

What is it?

The future of Honda design and styling — the Concept C and Concept S.

Why is it important?

Because you could be driving one soon. The production versions will be toned down a little, but Honda has confirmed that there will be models based on both these concepts on sale. China will be the first to get the models and soon afterwards the global launch of the vehicles will take place. The Concept C is a mid-sized sedan, slightly larger than the current Accord on the outside. Once suitably toned down for production, this could make for a very handsome sedan. The other one, called the Concept S is more of an MPV/large hatchback which, considering the kind of numbers the Jazz racked up initially, may not make it here.

When will India get it?

Global launch early next year. Possible India launch some time later.

 

What is it?

A Lamborghini that’s not just confined to the roads any more — meet the Urus.

Why is it important?

Well, just look at it. It’s a Lamborghini SUV. Sure, there has been an SUV before this bearing the Lamborghini badge in the name of the LM002, but this one is different. It’s more like an Aventador on stilts. As much as we don’t like the idea of more oversized vehicles on the road, we’re willing to make an exception for this one. The Urus will most likely be based on the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7, so you know it’s got a very capable base to build on. Add one Lambo V12 engine and some more angular bits and we’re sold!

When will India get it?

Even if your chequebook is large, not before 2016.