In my mind
It took me precisely six seconds to decide that Tata Motors has done the right thing by buying Jaguar Land Rover. Six seconds that saw the speedometer of a naturally aspirated Jaguar XF hitting 100 kph. As you would imagine, I do 100 kph very often in cars that range from econo-boxes to supercars, but the Jaguar was special. It emitted the right growl, sent the right vibrations and then caught an artery that supplies blood to my vitals and squeezed it dry. There was this sudden emotional connect that made me an instant fan who would sprawl on the altar of Tata Motors pleading for more test cars. I don’t know what the supercharged XFR that delivers 510 bhp would do if this - the lowly 385 bhp ‘base model’- could make me write prose like this. And there is the XK, the XKR and the all-new XJ. Going by the photographs, the new XJ is arguably the finest looking car launched this year. So you think Tata Motors paid too much when they dished out US $2.3 billion in June 2008? Its money well spent for a brand with glorious history, sterling engineering and superb automobiles. Imagine how long it would have taken Tata Motors to reach there (it took Toyota 40 years to come up with Lexus) and it all looks like a steal.
In my garage
All right, I admit it. I have hired a chauffeur to get the best out of the Skoda Superb long-termer. You see, this car has acres of legroom and quality leather, and I was not going to enjoy that 140 bhp turbodiesel in traffic in any case. So these days I walk into the pre-cooled environs of a Superb rear bench and chill for an hour or so that takes me to reach work as Ashish gets on with handling chaotic traffic. Actually I speak non-stop on the phone (with a vengeance), catch up with friends on Facebook and read the day’s papers. As a buying option – the diesel is a bit on the expensive side, but the 160 bhp 1.8 turbo-petrol is certainly good news.
Bike of the week
If you are in the market for a decent Lambretta 150 (the Indian-made clone), you have to shell out close to Rs 5,000 to 10,000 for a running, well-maintained example. Two years into my marriage, I stopped my father in law from “giving away” his Lamby 150 and now it has been restored to perfection. But instead of an orange-and-white paint scheme, I am left with a coffee bean brown-and-white. Coffee bean brown is cool, ain’t it?
Question of the week
Any guesses on how many countries Land Rovers are sold in?
169. Yes, now Tata Motors has a presence in 169 countries. Jaguar is sold in 60 countries (in case you were wondering).