Yes, this is becoming a bit of a chore, we agree. And we agree that we are shamelessly looking for pageviews, visits and what have you. But at least we are shameful enough to admit it.
What we are also willing to admit is that the Indian auto mart, despite the slight economic chill isn't looking to step off the throttle on launches. And yes, that does make our job a little tougher you see. What we've tried to do in the next few pages is accurately tell you what are the big launches in the next six months, when exactly in those six months you could expect them and what are they all about.
A sizeable portion of them are facelifts, which tells you that they are somewhere in the middle of their lifecycles. But a large number of them are new, including an electric car for crying out loud. So just get clicking and read up on all of them. And we'd be glad that you seriously added to our pageview count. Ahem!
CHEVROLET SAIL U-VA
When?: November 2
How much?: Rs 4.3 to 6.5 lakh (est)
Competition check: Maruti Suzuki Swift, Ford Figo, Toyota Etios Liva
There is no other way to arrest falling sales than to flood the market with new launches and GM India is doing that. The first of them, the Spark facelift is already out and the next one is this; the Sail U-VA.
It's also the first product from SAIC, GM's now 7 per cent partner in India. The Sail, as we now know is a sensible, practical car, aimed at those who are looking at a large, non-fussy, competent B-segment hatch. The key takeaways from the car are its space and a pretty good ride quality. The quality of interiors isn't necessarily up to scratch, but then again it's decently loaded too. Assembled at GM's Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, it gets locally assembled engines as well.
Under the hood are a 1.2-litre and 1.3-litre diesel motor option. The former produces roughly 85 bhp, about in the same ballpark as competition while the 1.3-litre diesel engine produces 76 bhp. The latter is the same Multijet diesel engine that is found on most Fiat, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki products in India. The motor is in fact a joint development between Fiat and GM and this is the first product from GM to receive this very motor in India (discounting the three-cylinder version that is found on the Beat). Performance should be decent, but by what we have understood, these engines are more attuned to efficiency and driveability.
We hope GM prices this car sensibly for its predecessor, the U-VA was a big disappointment on the sales charts. And GMI seriously needs it to be a success to turn its fortunes around.
BMW 6 SERIES GRAN COUPE
When?: Nov 8
How much?: Rs 74 to 85 lakh (est)
Competition check: Mercedes-Benz CLS, Audi A7
This segment needed a BMW competitor. After all, Mercedes-Benz, the original creator of the four-door coupe and the Audi A7 have hit the success button in this category. So it was natural for BMW to follow suit.
The 6 Series Gran Coupe, as the name suggests is a four-door coupe version of the already popular 6-Series Coupe. Phew, as long as they continue keeping it a coupe that is. Anyway, it's nothing more than a four-seater in reality, even though there is a lap belt for a fifth. What is good to know here is that space at the rear is decent and honestly, it doesn't look awkward either on the outside. That should mean some decent number of cars will find homes in India and around the world.
What we know from our drive a few weeks ago (and you can read it all in our November issue
) is that we shall get the 640d variant. Already available in either two-door coupe or convertible form, the 640d is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six diesel engine that produces 309 bhp and 64.2 kgm of peak torque that is mated to a single clutch, eight-speed automatic gearbox. Performance, as the saying goes is brisk.
Expect the price tag for the 640d to be in the region of Rs 75 to 85 lakh, a price that should keep it in the running with its competition. Will it become the best-seller in its segment? That's something that we need to find out.
MAHINDRA NXR (E2O)
How much?: Rs 5.5 to 6.5 lakh
Competition check: None actually, though by price a whole range of B-segment cars
When you are a pioneer, the going can be a little tough. Maini, the electric car company from Bengaluru has been one such firm that made it big (in the electric car world) with the Reva more than a decade ago. Now, however things have changed.
Having been a primarily export-oriented firm, Maini Electric has now become Mahindra Reva and is now ready what is just its second product so far. Designed to replace the Reva, the NXR (apparently christened E2O) is a larger, slightly more comfortable four-seater than the original. Designed by DC for Maini before the company changed hands, the NXR will be powered by an electric motor and a 48-volt, lithium ion battery pack. The company claims a 100 km range, making it more practical than before.
On the inside, apart from some more space, expect more features as well as creature comforts, things that were not feasible on the Reva. What Mahindra is considering, apart from selling out batteries is to lease them out instead, to keep the cost of ownership a bit reasonable. While that won't stop it from being as cheap as one would hope it would be, it's still enticing enough for a significant population to consider. We should be able to tell you all that and more, even how it drives soon. Stay tuned.
BMW X6 FACELIFT
When?: November 22
How much?: Rs 75 lakh to 1.1 crore
Competition check: Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport
The X6 is a bit of an indulgence. An all-wheel drive, four-door coupe on stilts, the X6 is neither a pure-bred SUV nor a coupe, which is why it's been quite a success internationally.
A few months ago, BMW released the X6 facelift in Europe and now it's ready to grace our roads as well. While the looks may draw a wedge, the facelift does bring some amount of freshness to the car. The fog lamps now get matt surrounds and are located in the upper areas of the air dam. A newly designed skid plate makes the BMW grille stand out. Other changes include adaptive LED headlamps and new LED tail lamps as well.
Pretty much everything on the inside stays the same, apart from some additonal leather trim options.
You will continue to get the same set of motors as before; which includes the 404 bhp twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 petrol and the 245 bhp 3.0-litre turbo diesel. Of course, the option to go the whole hog and order the X6M with its 552 bhp continues to be pretty much as far as the range will go. Which isn't a bad thing.
Expect a two to three per cent hike in the prices on account of the facelift and other changes.
How much?: Rs 6.5 to 9 lakh
Competition check: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Nissan Evalia, Toyota Innova, Mahindra Xylo
Not happy with the number of MPVs you can choose from? Then let GM add to that list with the second of its SAIC offerings; the Enjoy.
Little is known about the Chevrolet Enjoy or the Wuling CN-100, except that it's a seven-seater and will be powered by a pair of petrol and diesel offerings.
To be assembled at GM's facilities at Halol, the Enjoy is based on the Wuling CN-100, a product of the GM-SAIC alliance in China.
First shown at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi, the Enjoy is a proper seven seat MPV with conventional hinged doors instead of the sliding variety. Built to a cost, the Enjoy is nearly as large as the Toyota Innova on the outside, the Enjoy could set the cat among the pigeons in the MPV space on the sheer dint of its price tag.
Powering the Enjoy will be either a 1.4-litre, 94 bhp petrol engine from the Sail sedan or a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, the first on a GM product with about 76 bhp. Performance is expected to be decent and the gearbox will most likely be a 5-speed manual.
A high level of localisation can be expected and that should help the Enjoy be priced at par with the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, the current reigning champion in the field of MPVs. But whether it can shake the established lot up or find its own space in the ever-growing field of MPVs remains to be seen.
How much?: Rs 1.2 crore to 1.8 crore plus
Competition check: Porsche Cayenne
By sheer dint of the price tag, there's just the Porsche Cayenne that comes close, though both vehicles are rather different. The Range Rover is a larger vehicle with a bit more off-road ability than its German rival and yes, also somewhat of a class benchmark as far as luxury SUVs go.
The 4th-gen hasn't just gotten bigger, but it's also lighter and better engineered than its predecessor. The all-aluminium bodied RR (a first among SUVs) is a significant 420 kg lighter. That has helped the big Rangie become more efficient and kinder to the environment, while improving the performance numbers as well.
With more space and more features than before the RR has become more opulent too. Want better performance? Well, there are three engines to choose from for now – a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 with 504 bhp, a 255 bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel and a 335 bhp V8 diesel. A hybrid motor and other engine options are expected 2013 onwards. The Range Rover also gets a more advanced Terrain Response System.
Prices for the Range Rover are expected to shoot up a fair bit, going up as high as 10 per cent for certain models. That will make it the most expensive SUV in its class, by far. But what you will get is a world-class SUV that may be rather hard for its competition to match.