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Exposed! Things you can't afford to miss at Auto Expo 2012

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We tell you what not to miss at the 2012 Auto Expo.

 


What is it?
DC Design Avanti — it’s Dilip Chhabria’s idea of what a supercar should look like

Why should you go see it?
Because it’s a stunning piece of work, that’s why — there are hints of the Lotus Evora and Ferrari 458 Italia in it, but it’s most definitely a DC Design creation. The car has been named after the Studebaker Avanti found in the famous Tintin comics, and the word ‘Avanti’ means ‘to go’ — and go it should! Just consider the specs — initially, the car will come with a Ford-sourced 4-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine making 265 bhp, while a V6 petrol from Honda will churn out 400 bhp. Both engines will be mated to a 6-speed, dual clutch automatic transmission, and the 1560 kg Avanti should easily blast to 100 kph in under 7 seconds.

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What are they?
Mini Cooper hatch, convertible and Countryman

Why should you go see them?
The granddaddy of the modern small car, the Mini is finally here, and we’re thrilled! Make no mistake, it's one of the most successful modern-retro re-incarnations, not just in terms of design but also the driving experience. Okay, so we get the automatics that may not give you as much sense of control as a manual, but what we've gotten are the Cooper and Cooper S versions and that is the equivalent of a triple-sundae after some nice caviar. The hatch is the most fun-to-drive, the convertible the most fun-to-be-in and the Countryman the most 'practical'. Don't believe us? Then go to Hall 9 at Pragati Maidan and experience it for yourself.

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What is it?
Ford EcoSport

Why should you go see it?
The EcoSport may be the coolest Ford ever seen in this country. It’s a concept, admittedly, but sports some revolutionary features. It looks aggressive and sporty, yet comes in under 4 metres, so it can take advantage of excise duty benefits. Ford’s kinetic design language is in evidence, and it’s been taken a step further. The most interesting bit is the engine — it’s a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine making almost 120 bhp and 17 kgm of torque; that’s as powerful as Ford’s 1.6-litre Duratec petrol engine! We haven’t seen the interior yet, but as things stand, this is a truly exciting concept, and we hope it makes it into production soon!

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What is it?
Royal Enfield Café Racer

Why should you go see it?
If you have a thing for Brit singles, all café’d up, you simply cannot miss this one. Before you dismiss this motorcycle as the Café Racer that graced the Enfield stand at the last Expo, let us tell you that it’s anything but. This one is all new and it’s revolutionary. The bike features a cradle frame that finally shows the company’s intention of bidding adieu to the single downtuber that was used on Enfields since forever. The engine is a 500cc UCE engine, and so dearth of power isn’t an issue that you might have to contend with. The tank seems straight off the sexy old RE Continental GT and the rear set pegs and low clubman ‘bars make this motorcycle very appetising indeed, while the Ohlins suspension and ultra sticky-looking tyres will go a long way in plastering a wide grin across your face everytime you swing your legs over the machine. Royal Enfield really has a winner on its hands if this motorcycle makes it, just the way it is, into production.

DROOL FACTOR * * * * * *
(We really mean 6/5!)

 

 

 

 

What is it?
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept

Why should you go see it?
This is one sinister-looking muscle car. Essentially, you’re looking at the framework for the next-generation Corvette and in spirit, a successor to the mighty Corvette Stingray from way back when. This Transformers star is not exactly the newest concept around (being unveiled in 2009) but this design still does blow your mind with its powerful stance, bold, flared wheel arches, sharp cuts and a jet fighter-like cockpit. It’s far from production ready but we can almost hear the HEMI V8 rumble emanating from it. Go catch it at the GM stall. And anyway, if the Stingray doesn’t do it for you, the showgirl standing next to it definitely will.

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What is it?
The Honda CBR150R

Why should you go see it?
Because you might want to see what is poised to be one of the best 150cc motorcycles out there. R15, you should be worried because this motorcycle is basically a CBR250R scaled-down, equipped with a 150cc motor producing a solid 18 bhp @ 10,500 rpm along with 1.28 kgm of torque. That, ladies and gentlemen, will be the most powerful 150cc motorcycle when it goes on sale. Of course, prices remain unknown but Honda says they’ll be under Rs 1.25 lakh — proper R15 territory, then. Digital meters, front and rear disc brakes, crisp CBR styling, monoshock suspension at the rear and typically Honda build quality should make this one cracker of a motorcycle. We’ll have one in the classic red, white and blue Honda colour scheme, please.

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What are they?
The Jaguar C-X16 and CX-75.

Why should you go see them?
Because the Leaping Cat twins take centre stage on what is definitely the prettiest display of cars you’ll see at the Auto Expo 2012 — the Jaguar pavilion. Of the two, the C-X16 (pictured above) is the proper two-seater, rear-wheel drive sports coupé that promises great driving fun with impeccable handling characteristics coupled to a sweet 380 bhp supercharged V6 engine. More interestingly, there’s also a boost button of sorts that unleashes an additional 95 bhp on tap. Nice! Nicer still is the car Jaguar made for their 75th anniversary — the CX-75 Concept (Google it). Besides being good looking, this range-extended hybrid runs a combination of gas turbines and electric motors to deliver a staggering 780 horsepower. In simple terms it means 0-100 kph in 3.4 sec, a 330 kph top-speed and a range of 901 km! ’Nuff said.

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What is it?
Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport

Why you should go see them?
Why not? It’s the next-generation Defender, at least in concept form and if you love Land Rovers, then the Defender should very well be on the top of your pecking order. Sure, it breaks all traditions, what with the flared wheel arches, massively over-sized wheels and an odd-ball paint scheme, but whether in hard-top or convertible form, they look just as exciting as the Jaguar twins on the other side of the stall. Land Rover does say that the production versions are a good four to five years away, but when they are ready, expect them to retain their traditional off-roading genes. And that ability to put a big smile on your face.

 

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What is it?
The Triumph display

Why should you go see it?
The legendary Triumph badge is back in India, and that’s reason enough to rejoice! Back in the day, the Mumbai (Bombay, at that point) police used to use Triumph Tigers, and now everyone will have access to one of the best bike names in the business. Seven models will be made available — the Bonneville, Speed Triple, Street Triple, Daytona 675, Rocket III Roadster, Storm and Tiger 800XC. The best part? Pricing will start at Rs 5.5 lakh for the Bonneville , going up to Rs 22 lakh for the gargantuan Rocket III Roadster. Bikers, you now have seven more reasons to rejoice!

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What is it?
Audi A3 Sedan Concept

Why you should go see it?
Ah, a 400 bhp concept sedan sounds gobsmacking. But what makes it even more delicious is the fact that it’s a compact sedan, about the size of a VW Jetta. Why you must see it is very simple — this concept is the basis of what could be Audi’s cheapest offering in India when it goes on sale — even cheaper than the Q3 SUV! Surprised? Don’t be, because all the big luxury manufacturers are going small to become relevant to most people. Yes, an (relatively) affordable Audi. Who would have ever thought of that?!

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