25 September, 2012

Carver One - A Car or A Bike or Pure Innovation?

Ok, let's play a guessing game. In the picture below, can you make out if it's a car, a bike, or...?

No! It's tricky right. It looks like a bike, well sort of, but it's covered, so it could be a car as well. Actually, this three-wheeler (and thank God it's not similar to the ones in our country) is an interesting contraption created by a European Company.

This curious vehicle is called Carver One and is designed with ingenuity. Providing comfort of a car, the Carver One can corner the roads with the agility of a motorcycle. Sitting in a single file, the occupants are covered by the cockpit cover and the driver, who sits at the helm, steers the vehicle much like a car.

So if one is driving the Carver One on a straight road, this contraption will drive as any regular car. But the Carver takes the turns like a regular motorcycle, despite the fact that it is fitted with three wheels, one in the front and two at the rear. The front wheel assembly can incline up to a maximum 45 degrees, though this angle is mechanically determined as per the steering input from the one driving the Carver One. Both, the 700cc, 4-cylinder engine that churns out 68HP of power, and the transmission are fixed to the rear axle.

Weighing just around 670 kgs, the Carver One can sprint to 100 kmph in a fairly decent 8.2 seconds and can achieve a top-speed of 185kmph. The Carver One may never actually be available for sale in the world (including India) because the manufacturer Carver Europe declared bankruptcy in 2009 and ceased production as well as sales. As of 2011, this technology is owned by Carver Technology.

While the Carver One made it's international debut in 2007 at the Geneva Motor Show, it was also tested by several celebrities including Jenson Button.

Button's Video (Sourced from YouTube) is below. Watch it and enjoy.

24 September, 2012

Jaguar F-Type: Is It The Coolest Looking Roadster This Year?

Early this year, at the New Delhi Auto Expo 2012, a number of concept cars made their Indian debut and managed to grabbed plenty of attention. From Chevy's "cute as a button" electric car to Merc's AMG to Jaguar's CX-16, a breathtaking mean machine that drew a lot of 'Ooohs' and 'Aaahs' from the crowd, it wouldn't be wrong on my part of say that concept cars ruled the Auto Expo!

For me, CX-16 was a fantastic Concept, not just because of it's really sleek shape and beautiful proportions, but also because of its impressive specifications. Having received plenty of positive buzz from around the world, the company has now decided to launch F-Type, a sparkling new sports car, which is expected to go on sale from 2013.

The F-Type, will come with 3 engine choices and like the CX16, will be powered by a 3.0-L, 250HP V6 normally aspirated engine, a supercharged R version with 375HP power, and a 5.0-L V8 engine. Jaguar F sports car, a 2-seater convertible, will be made completely of aluminum.

This Jag roadster will be making its international appearance at the Paris Motor Show that begins on 27th September 2012 and this debut will also mark Jaguar's return to the luxury sports car market.

If these photographs are anything to go by the new F-Type roadster is an absolute visual delight and perhaps, a great piece of machinery to own!

13 September, 2012

Pagani Huayra 2012 - The Carbon Fiber Blitzkrieg!

From The Top!

It's fast! It's sleek! It's light-weight! It's Italian!

It's gorgeous, with sexy curves, and clever design. It's low swung, but clings to the road like a tiger to its prey!

It's the Pagani Huayra (pronounced why-rah), a carbon fiber luxury sports car with a twin turbocharged V12 engine! Enough or you want more?

Disarming Side Profile

The Pagani Huarya, a mid-sized racer, is manufactured by the Italian car maker, Pagani, and precedes the Pagani Zonda. Costing approx. $1,150,000, the car will be road worthy in 2013. Named Huarya after the Incan God of the Winds, "Huayra-tata," This unique luxury sedan has an external carbon fiber coating, instead of the regular paint job. Carbon is also used for several interior elements like the dashboard and adds accents to the plush leather seating too. Perhaps, making an attempt to justify the car's huge price tag. 

Gull Wing Doors

No sports car is worthy unless it has a great engine. The Pagani Huayra Carbon Edition is no different. As mentioned, the V12, twin turbo engine churns out a staggering 700 HP & 738 lb-ft of torque, allowing the car to dash to 100kmph in as little as 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 270kmph. Interestingly, the Huarya has the same engine that powers the Merc AMG roadsters. And yes, the Italians outsource the engine from the Germans.

Despite being a modern Beemer, the Pagani Huayra doesn't have a dual-clutch gearbox. It uses a 7-speed sequential gearbox and has a dual-disc clutch, so as to be light and faster. Therefore, the complete weight of this Italian car's transmission is a mere 96 kg!!

Plush Leather With Carbon Highlights

Using dry slump method of lubrication, the car always gets uniform oil flow even when subjected to high speeds, thus ensuring effective engine operation and lower center of gravity, while improving overall handling of the car. The fuel tank is placed just behind the driver and is made of ballistic material.

The Huarya employs active aerodynamics and can comfortably change the height of its front  from the ground level with the help of the four-independently operating flaps placed, two each, at the front and rear of it.
Titanium Exhausts
With several unique features and innovative technology uses, the Pagani Huarya is definitely a different sort of luxury sports car. One that promises, good looks as well as thrills and unending adventure. A word of caution: it's definitely not for the faint hearted!!

04 September, 2012

Mahindra Quanto - It's Mahindra Mini Xylo Rechristened!

How many of you have heard the English song - "It's raining men"? The latest cover version was sung by Geri Haliwell (a former Spice Girl) and was a big hit! Why am I talking about a cheesy sounding English song in my blog about cars? Because, it's raining compact SUVs in India! It all started with the X1s, Yetis among others and it's yet to stop! From premium luxury mini SUVs to our very own homegrown ones, everyone is swimming at the deep end of this pool, some enjoying the waters, others jumping out of the pool due to sheer breathlessness.

With as many as 30 cars queued up for launch in the last quarter of 2012, India is going to run out of roads, no pun intended! Everyone wants one from the line up of the long list of cars ready to be rolled out. And SUVs, full-blown off roaders, or compacts or crossovers, well they are all ruling the roost. I decided to blog about the much awaited Mahindra Mini Xylo, ready to be launched in the next one month, only to find out that its been re-christened to a funkier sounding name that also ends with the alphabet 'O,' QUANTO, just like the Scropio, the XUV 5oo and Xylo!

Mahindra Quanto

Looks first. The Mahindra Quanto is hardly different when compared with its predecessor, the Xylo. The new mini-SUV's front appearance has changed in that it now has a fairly well-defined hood and the Mahindra emblem has been repositioned and placed just above the front grille.

Expected to be launched just around Diwali, this 7-seater Sports Utility Vehicle has a butterfly-like 3/4 glass rear and gives a good view of the road left behind! Less than 4-meters in length, the Quanto will come with a 1.5-Litre mHawk twin-charged diesel engine with 100BHP power output. While its sub-4 meters length gives it a place in the small car segment, it also gets a 10% excise benefit and hopefully that means that it will be priced between 5lakh to 7lakh band.

If Mahindra wants the Quanto to succeed, they will have to ensure competitive pricing for this vehicle and just making a few cosmetic changes is not going to help grab a share of the market. At least that's my take on it. What's your's?

Who are the likely competitors of the Mahindra Quanto? I am guessing its not just off-roaders, but also diesel sedans and sub-10lakh SUVs like the Duster, to-be-launched Ford EcoSport & Maruti XA Alpha, and its own Scorpio for that matter. Do you think the launch of Mahindra Quanto will also give sleepless nights to premium hatchbacks like Hyundai i20 and Maruti Swift among others?