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All the launches in May and June 2012

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AUDI A4 FACELIFT

When?: May 3, 2012
How much?: Rs 27 lakh to 37 lakh
Variants: 2.0 TDI, 1.8 TFSI, 2.0 TFSI, 3.0 TDI and 3.0 V6 supercharged

Before the Q3, Audi's smallest and possibly cheapest offering in India, the facelifted A4 will hit showrooms. Up for launch in the first week of May, the A4 has been a slow-seller in India, and it has been the case until the last few months when Audi started off-loading its current stock with a sizeable discount and/or some terrific offers.

With momentum clearly on its side, Audi wants to make the most out of it. The facelifted A4, like the current model will be assembled at Audi's facilities at Aurangabad, where the A6, Q5 and the upcoming Q3 are also put together. On the outside, the facelift yields the A4 a new set of headlamps that are not unlike the ones on the A6 and a black grille if it's a V6 powered one. At the rear, the tail lights have tweaked ever so slightly.

Read our review of the facelifted A4 here:


PORSCHE 911

When?: May 2012
How much?: Rs 1 cr to 1.3 cr
Variants: Carrera and Carrera S for now, four-wheel drive later, Turbo in late 2013/14

The legend is making a comeback. Having been around in India for nearly eight years now, Porsche is bringing the latest iteration of the most famous supercar in the world – the 911.

The new 911 will be coming in before the calendar turns to June under the aegis of Porsche India National Sales Company under the Volkswagen Group Sales India Private Limited umbrella. What it means is more direct involvement from Porsche in its Indian operations and hopefully, a wider and improved sales and after-sales network.

But back to the car. The new 911 (codenamed the 991 generation) is bigger, lighter and more comfier than before. It's also more rigid, more of which you can read in our full-blown track review below.

Read our REVIEW of the PORSCHE 911 here:


MERCEDES-BENZ ML

When?: May 2012
How much?: Rs 65 lakh upwards
Variants: ML 350 CDI in May, ML 250 and ML63 AMG later

The new Mercedes-Benz ML promises to be larger, better handling and more powerful than before. And if we are to go by the specifications, it seems it is. While the first lot of cars might be available as CBUs, Mercedes-Benz is working double time to get the first of the CKDs out some time soon after.

MBIL will launch the ML 350 CDI to begin with, though there are signs that it won't be the only engine variant. In the next 12 to 15 months, Mercedes is contemplating bringing in the ML 250 CDI and the monstrous ML 63 AMG as well. If that does happen, expect Mercedes-Benz to hit its competition pretty hard from all corners. The ML 350 CDI packs quite a punch – 258 bhp (up nearly 34 bhp on the last car) and an impressive 63 kgm of peak torque. MB claims that the car is now 0.2 seconds quicker to 100 kph at 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 224 kph. A new updated 7-GTronic seven-speed automatic gearbox does duty in the ML 350 CDI. Start-Stop would be standard on all variants of the ML.

Mechanically too, the car boasts of double wishbone suspension and a new steering system that makes the car more responsive and agile.

All the Mercs coming to India until 2015 - READ HERE:


SSANGYONG REXTON

When?: June 2012
How much?: Rs 17 to 20 lakh
Variants: 2.7-litre diesel, available in both 2WD and 4WD

Ssangyong. Best known for its not-so-appealing designs and, well, er, that's it's now a part of the Mahindra group. The South Korean car manufacturer was picked up by the Indian company in 2010 and now it intends to bring it to our shores.

First up is the Rexton. For those who have a slightly strong memory, Ssangyong did enjoy a strong relationship with Mercedes-Benz until quite recently. The MB100 and MB140 D vans that were sold in the last decade of the last century in India by Mercedes-Benz were actually built by Ssangyong. The Rexton is nothing more than the last-gen, W163 Mercedes-Benz ML underneath. And since the last ML was a body-on-ladder rather than a monocoque, the Rexton therefore gets the same treatment.

Under the hood of the Rexton is a 2.7-litre, five-cylinder diesel motor that too borrows from the ML. Incidentally, the same motor also powers the Axe, Mahindra's bidding vehicle for the Indian Army personnel carrier. With 165 bhp on tap and a smidgeon under 35 kgm of peak torque, this second-generation common-rail diesel motor is mated to a 5-speed auto globally, but our guess is that a manual transmission could be offered here.

Read on the SSANGYONG REXTON at the 2012 AUTO EXPO here:

Our SCOOP on the CHEVROLET SAIL sedan here:

SCOOP! Facelifted Premier Rio coming!

The Multijet diesel equipped Rio should be producing in the region of 75 bhp and 19-odd kgm of peak torque. That is about 10 bhp and four kgm up on the 1.5-litre TUD5, BS-III version of the Rio. The Premier Rio also comes with a 1.2-litre petrol motor, keeping in mind its sub 4-metre dimensions.

Read our review of the RIO PETROL here:

Premier Rio 1.2 Petrol review - Blame it on rio!

While equipment levels will hardly change, in view of the facelift it received a few months ago, the pricing could very well change. Expect the Rio Multijet to start at Rs 6 lakh for the basic trim level with the fully specced out version nudging Rs 7 lakh. It won't be cheap, mind you, but then there isn't anything else to compete with. At least not in the short run.