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BMW F750 GS, F850 GS to be launched at Auto Expo 2018

New middle-weight GS adventure models get bigger 853cc engines and a new monocoque frame.

The BMW F750 GS and the F850 GS were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show, in Italy. These new models feature sharper styling, new technology, a monocoque frame and a bigger 853cc engine – an upgrade to their 798cc predecessors, the F700 GS and F800 GS. BMW Motorrad will launch these two motorcycles in India at the Auto Expo in February 2018.

The new 853cc parallel-twin engine is tuned to make different power figures in both bikes – 77hp and 83Nm of torque in the F750, and 85hp and 92Nm of torque in the F850. BMW suggests that the engine’s new 270-degree firing order makes it produce a ‘powerful’ sound. Another big change comes in the form of a new monocoque frame with new suspension geometry and fuel tank position which has moved from the previous under-seat position to a conventional location behind the bars.

The F750 GS and F850 GS get a new fork (an upside-down 43mm one in the case of the F850 and a 41mm telescopic unit for the F750). Rear suspension duties are handled by an aluminium double-sided swing-arm and a monoshock. BMW’s electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) is optional. Both come with ABS, ASC, and ‘Rain’ and ‘Road’ riding modes, as standard. Other optional equipment includes full-LED lighting and a multi-functional instrument cluster.

BMW will launch both these bikes at the Auto Expo 2018 in February. Both bikes will come to India via the CBU route but they will be the most affordable bikes in the German manufacturers current line-up for India and should be priced competitively against the Triumph Tiger 800 range – which is also due for replacement in India, next year. We expect there to be a price difference of around Rs 1.5 lakh between the two models.

Courtesy : Autocar

Nov 30, 2017
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New Jeep Wrangler to get plug-in hybrid variant

US market introduction in 2020; Jeep sees electrification in the future as inevitable.

Jeep will add an all-new plug-in hybrid variant to the Wrangler’s engine line-up in 2020. This was confirmed by the Jeep’s head Mike Manley at the ongoing Los Angeles Motor Show. The plug-in hybrid variant will be in addition to the 2018 Wrangler’s new engine line up which includes, two petrols, including a mild-hybrid and two diesels, respectively.

Speaking at the Wrangler’s launch event, Mike Manley said, “Jeep believes that electrification in the future is inevitable and this will not only future-proof our products but also give us an opportunity to push our capability message with significant improvements in fuel economy, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions along with added capability.”

Jeep has not divulged any specifications about its powertrain, yet; but being a plug-in hybrid, it will get propulsion from the engine, the electric motor or a combination of both. The battery-pack will be able to be charged via either a plug-in socket or the engine, or both. The only other plug-in hybrid model currently in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s American line-up is the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, which gets a 16kWh-battery and an EPA-rated electric-only range of 53km.

When asked whether the brand’s new hybrid technology would make it to India anytime soon, Mike Manley remained non-committal, saying “India has historically been a slow adopter of newer technology because of its diverse market. However, there also been a part of the market that has embraced on the highest and newest technology. So, as we roll-out new global models with new technology, we will time their launch to when it's most suitable; to the market ready to accept it.”

Courtesy : Autocar

Nov 30, 2017
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Second-gen Range Rover Evoque to be unveiled in October 2018

Since its launch, the Evoque has added to the success story of Land Rover. Right now, assumptions are that Land Rover is set to reveal the car in October next year at the Paris Motor Show.

The outgoing Evoque has firmly established its position in several markets. Its design boss, Gerry McGovern, believes there is no need for the concept to be reinvented, saying it should keep its “key ingredients” intact and would be designed to keep the design “more relevant”. He said the task was to “take the Evoque MK1 integrity and make it more relevant". Moreover, Land Rover was working to make the vehicle more modern, precise, comfortable and luxurious, other than the aesthetic changes that are planned.

The design is believed to draw inspiration from the new Velar, which has already influenced styling changes to the recently facelifted Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.

Evoque MK2’s interior will include a dual touchscreen on the central console and a wide digital instrument binnacle in order to enhance Evoque’s connectivity options. The second-gen model will be built on an overhauled version of the present D8 structure of the car (Jaguar Land Rover’s only front-wheel-drive architecture for transverse engine models). The brand will focus on improving the ride quality of the Evoque and the comfort level of the passengers.

However, the new Evoque is likely to remain dimensionally similar without any significant change in size being 4,390mm long and 1,900mm wide. Its wheelbase is tad longer compared to the current model at 2,681mm. It also gets an increased track width and a redesigned trailing arm suspension set-up to be used at the rear to improve rear passenger comfort. This next-generation Evoque range is understood to be limited to a single five-door body style. Furthermore, the MK2 will use the same 2.0 -litre 4-cylinder, turbocharged Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. However, the company will work on the engine to improve fuel economy.

Front-wheel-drive will be offered on entry-level versions, with all-wheel-drive standard on higher trims. Both the engines will be mated to JLR’s ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic gearbox, and Land Rover’s latest off-road technology will be offered to ensure the Evoque’s go-anywhere credibility.

After 2020, all JLR models will have either an electric or a plug-in hybrid variant. However, the Evoque is expected to launch just before that time frame and is not likely to have either of them initially. The mild-hybrid version was first revealed as a part of Evoque E-technology project in 2015 and is currently used in the Evoque, Discovery Sport and Jaguar’s E-Pace.

The company has not given any confirmation on launch of a pure electric Evoque due to the limitations of the D8 architecture. Land Rover has not revealed when the second-gen Evoque will come to India, where the locally manufactured current-gen model retails from Rs 44.44 lakh to Rs 59.76 lakh (ex-showroom, India).

Courtesy : Autocar

Nov 29, 2017
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Triumph Motorcycles completes four years of operations in India

Having set up shop in India in 2013, Triumph has 14 dealerships across the country and 16 models on sale.

Iconic premium motorcycle marque, Triumph Motorcycles, has completed four successful years in India. Triumph made its Indian debut with a range of motorcycles at the Auto Expo, back in 2012. On November 28, 2013, Triumph launched ten new motorcycles and its journey in India has been an impressive one, to say the least.

The bike maker's current line-up for India includes five categories – Modern Classics, Roadsters, Supersports, Adventure and Touring, and Cruisers – with a total of sixteen models on sale. With an enviable accessory range, each of these models can be customised to varying degrees and this contributes to Triumph’s appeal as a premium, aspirational brand of motorcycles. A strong dealer/service (Experience Centres, in Triumph speak) network has seen the manufacturer build a customer base of over 4,500, and with more such centres scheduled in the next year, this is only set to increase. In 2018, an Experience Centre is expected to begin operations in Goa, which is a growing market for premium motorcycles. 

At present, Triumph assembles most of its range at its Manesar facility and this has helped keep its pricing competitive and often lower than that of its European and Japanese rivals. In addition, Triumph has also supported rider-training academies such as the California Superbike School and RACR, and has initiated its own off-road training programme called the Triumph Tiger Trails.

The bike maker is currently gearing up for a 2018 launch of its recently unveiled Speedmaster, which is a twin-seat spin-off on the Bonneville Bobber, featuring revised steering geometry and a larger, 12-litre fuel tank, among other tweaks that make it more cruiser-like. 

Courtesy : Autocar

Nov 29, 2017
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India-bound 2018 Jeep Wrangler: A close look

Jeep took the wraps off the new 2018 Wrangler SUV a few days ago. The new Wrangler makes its public debut at the Los Angeles Auto show 2017. We take a closer look at the latest iteration of the iconic SUV from Jeep that will make it to our shores sometime in second half of next year.

The new Jeep Wrangler's styling takes up where the previous-gen model left off. This means, Jeep has played it safe with the SUV's design and it still carries off the original Jeep’s DNA. Upfront, the new Wrangler's grille has been tweaked slightly with the farther-most slats now curving with the shape of the headlights, similar to the ones seen on the older Jeep CJ5 range.  The SUV now features larger full-LED headlights with LED daytime running lights which are placed on the fenders. Moving on to the sides, the profile is unmistakably Wrangler, however there are subtle changes especially to the glasshouse, with the belt-line now being lower by about an inch that helped Jeep create a larger glasshouse for the new model. It now features vents just on the aft of the front fenders which according to Jeep not only provides ventilation to the engine but also helps reduce hood-vibration. At the back, the tail lamps are larger and so is the rear window with the spare-tyre placed a little lower than earlier for better rear visibility.

With the new Wrangler, Jeep says it has taken customer feedback seriously and has incorporated changes in the new model.  "With the new Wrangler, we had to maintain a balance with the modern bits and at the same time also stick to things that were beloved on the outgoing model" says Mark Allen, head of Jeep's exterior design department. "We were thinking of going a bit more radical with the new Wrangler, but we didn't want to lose the Jeep DNA much by doing that." he adds.  "We have to make sure the Wrangler attracts to someone who would take it to the Rubicon trail as well as to the customer who wants to use it as their daily driver".  

The new Wrangler continues to be offered with a fold-down windshield which according to the company is still sought after "by the purists". The new Wrangler gets unique and more user-friendly, soft- and hard-top options, which are easier to remove and retract.

The new Wrangler's interior is leagues better than the outgoing model’s, with a greater emphasis on quality. The cabin, however, retains the original Wrangler styling bits like the round air-con vents. "We wanted to respect the iconic heritage of the Wrangler.  At the same time, we wanted to do something that is tasteful and carries that lineage on, and also something that is unique in its own way," says Chris Benjamin, who heads Jeep's interior design team. "The horizontality of the dashboard has been maintained and it was taken as the starting point. We added shades and textures that are more contemporary but at the same time carries the Jeep Wrangler DNA." However, the team admitted that it did face its share of challenges in order to maintain the ruggedness while adding more tech and features. "Aesthetically this instrument panel is challenging, it is not as deep at the back as the ones seen on other conventional cars and SUVs. So we had to ensure to make it look more spacious and maintain the traditional horizontal look." 

The new Wrangler also sees added length to its wheelbase and longer front and rear overhangs on the four-door model.  This means, it is much bigger on the inside with more room for the front and rear passengers. The added length at the back has resulted in the rear seat moving a bit backward for additional legroom.

The new Wrangler's hand-wrapped leather instrument panel gets traditional speedometer and tachometer but now comes with a 7-inch multi-info display (3.5-inch on lower-spec trims). The dashboard gets soft-touch materials along with the mix of aluminium and plastic bits. The new Wrangler for the first time comes with dual-zone climate control with dedicated twin air-con vents for the second-row occupants. It is now big on storage too with the centre storage area now being around fifty percent bigger than before. The shift lever features real bolts which are also seen on the frame for the infotainment system as well. Speaking of the infotainment system, the Wrangler will come with three screen-size options with the smallest being the 5-inch one, the mid-spec trims will come with a 7-inch screen while the fully-specced variants loaded with a large 8.4-inch unit replete with features like Apple CarPlay and Android auto. There are multiple 12V sockets and USB ports scattered around the cabin. The Wrangler also gets push button start and keyless go feature on the higher trims. And aiding visibility is reverse camera mounted on the spare wheel. The Wrangler also features a model information plaque on its tailgate which is reminiscent of the earlier Jeep models.

Under the Skin
Jeep has made the new Wrangler not only more refined but also more capable than the outgoing car. It now has better breakover, approach and departure angles than the outgoing models and comes with up to 30-inches of water-fording capability. The SUV now features four separate skid plates in order to protect the fuel-tank, transfer case and the automatic transmission oil pan. Apart from using aluminium for the doors, Jeep has used the same material for the new Wrangler's engine mounts and steering gear too. As far as ride and handling goes, Jeep says it has "extensively worked" on the ride comfort and body-roll control and has achieved significant results" The SUV is now a bit more aerodynamic than before, thanks to the raked windshield and other aero improvements. The new Wrangler's drag co-efficient is around nine percent lesser than the outgoing model. l. 

Engine and powertrain options
The new Wrangler will be available with two petrol and two diesel engine options. They are:

●    3.6LV6 petrol, 285hp, 353Nm torque.
●    2.0L 4-cyl turbo petrol, 270hp, 400Nm
●    2.2-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 197hp,450Nm
●    3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel with 240hp, 570Nm

Out of the above four engine options, the 3.6-litre petrol will carry on as is and will now be on sale primarily for the North American market, along with the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel which is new to the Wrangler but is already available on the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Wrangler sees the addition of two four-cylinder options - a new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel - that will be aimed at international markets. It is possible the Wrangler for India could be offered with the new powertrains. The gearboxs on offer on the Wrangler will be an eight-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual. In pursuit of better fuel-economy, all 2018 Jeep Wrangler models will feature start-stop technology.

The new Jeep Wrangler will be continued to be manufactured at Jeep's Toledo facility in the US and will be sold in India as a fully-imported unit just like the outgoing car. The company has no plans as of now to manufacture this model at any other facility. Jeep says the outgoing model is still in great demand and will be manufactured for some more time at the same facility.  The manufacturer is currently tight-lipped on India launch plans for the new Wrangler, however sources tell us that it will be safe to expect a launch around the festive season of 2018.

Courtesy : Autocar

Nov 29, 2017
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