Photos: Karthik A Nair
It’s that time of the year where everyone expects surprises in one form or another. Be it from Santa, a colleague or – in this case – a manufacturer, we love surprises and that’s enough to make the sense of occasion special. This time, Volvo Auto India surprised us by ushering in their most important model, the XC60 in India, at a market price of Rs. 55.9 lakh! The XC60 is launched in the D5 Inscription variant.
Left to myself, I’d always pick an SUV over a sedan. Maybe it’s that stance and girth, both combined. Or maybe, it’s just me and the butterflies in my belly fluttering around, making me feel like more of an SUV buff. I have spent the better half of driving career, motoring along in mid-size luxury SUVs like the BMW X3 and X5. SUVs are the best when it comes to long hauls and sheer comfort. Be it on the tarmac or off the beaten path, SUVs tend to make you feel safe and secure, without breaking into a sweat. The road presence and the commanding driving position certainly adds some more charm to the list of benefits of owning and exploring the world in an SUV.
We sampled the latest addition in Volvo Auto India’s fleet: the Volvo XC60, in Chennai. The 2017 model is made available in India and Volvo is expecting a huge bump-up in their sales figures before this financial year end. The all-new XC60 is capable enough to accomplish that feat in terms of volumes as this car contributes to 30% of Volvo’s total share in India.
All you need to know about the 2017 Volvo XC60
XC60 is the most elegant looking SUV in its segment
The Volvo XC60 is built on the SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform and is 11mm wider, 44mm longer and 14 mm shorter than the previous model.
Elegance is an understatement for the XC60, as it looks stunning from all angles. It has the nicest lines we’ve seen on an SUV. Be it from the front or the rear, the car has the right amount of chrome in all the appropriate areas, while the toothy front grille gets a lot of that too!
The XC60 demands your attention upon looking at it, along with a nice, planted sporty stance to supplement it. It has those signature Thor's hammer LED DRL’s as seen on the bigger XC90, but the LED DRLs on the XC60 extend into the chrome grille.
The 19-inch alloys are stylish and further add oomph to the design.
Interiors are truly luxurious, feature rich and classy
Step inside the all-new XC60 and you will love every bit you feast your eyes on – right from the luxurious cabin the looks spacious and airy with the large panoramic sunroof and the Nappa leather seats, that look best in dark shades even though a beige option is made available by Volvo.
Both, front and rear seats offer good support and the cabin is made up of top quality materials. The dash has wood inserts, while the front seats come equipped with the ventilation plus massage option.
There are just a handful of buttons on the centre console since the space is eaten up by a 9-inch touchscreen through which we can control everything, right from climate control to massage options. There is a very precise and quintessential Volvo-ish leather steering wheel, which also gets heating as an option.
The instrument cluster is all-digital with the 12.3 inch TFT display, with the head-up display on the windshield which is bound to have the driverfocus on the road, without any distraction. The TFT screen display changes the colour and display settings according to the drive mode, which can be selected through a very classy scrolling knob next to the gear. The 15 speaker Bower and Wilkins sound system is a treat for the ears. Then, there are driver assist features as well like 360-degree camera, semi-automatic parking, blind-spot assist and lane departure warning. In fact, the Volvo XC60 also features radar-based safety tech like adaptive cruise control.
A very well refined, powerful 2.0-litre diesel with PowerPulse technology
Under the hood, Volvo XC60 comes equipped with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that makes 235hp and churns out 480Nm of maximum torque, with power being sent to all four wheels via an 8-Speed automatic transmission. The XC60 acts as a 2WD until the other two wheels lose traction.
Volvo has been able to maintain good insulation around the cabin that reduces NVH levels; we could’ve easily mistaken it for a petrol when we stepped in first. The engine is very responsive and has nothing to complain about. Mercedes, Audi and BMW offer 3.0-litre engines on higher variants, but the XC60’s 2.0-litre mill is a sweet Swedish revenge for the Germans.
The XC60 picks up speed with grace and is very potent enough in competing with the higher powered Germans. Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road and Individual are the drive modes available . For those of you itching to know – yes, the XC60 is a very dynamically-sorted SUV to drive even around corners. Precise steering response adds confidence. The XC60 comes with air suspension, which alters the ride height according to the drive mode and speed. Add to that the commendable 223mm of ground clearance, and what we have is an SUV that’s ready to wade over whatever comes in its way.
Volvo uses PowerPulse technology that uses the clean air drawn from the compressor to the exhaust manifold, quickly spooling up the turbo to nullify the turbo lag!
As far as safety is concerned, Volvo will be always at the forefront. The XC60 is no exception. It comes equipped with SPS airbags and a dozen of driver assist features to improve safety, which also happen to be segment-first features.
How good is the Volvo XC60, really?
There’s no massage option at the rear and you can’t operate the entertainment system from the rear by any means, other than controlling the fan speed and temperature. Hence, if you're planning to be chauffeur driven in this one, you need to think twice. But if you're planning to drive it yourself, well, look no further since it’s great to drive, and the heated steering wheel, heated seats are sure to make the end of a very hectic day at work seem rather comforting. Just for the record, some of the driver aids make this car semi-autonomous as well!
Considering the features, the XC60 comes equipped with lot of segment-firsts, like the seat massagers, heated steering wheel, auto tailgate opening/closing and much more! The XC60 is worth every penny according to us, considering the Rs. 55.9 lakh price tag. While BMW will be launching their updated X3 earlier next year and Audi will be late to the party with the new Q5, the only strong contender for the XC60 is the GLC, which is again way behind the XC60, considering the features and elegance on offer here. This is that time Volvo is set to play ball, with the goal posts free for a shot – and the best bit about the XC60 is that there is just one variant available (D5 Inscription), and customers get everything – right from the chrome finished tid-bits on the exterior to the heated steering wheel. A lush life it is for those buying one.
|Type||2 Litre 4 Cylinder Turbo Petrol|
|Layout||All Wheel Drive|
|Top Speed||230kmph (limited)|
|Price||INR 55.9 lakh|
|December 15-17||MRF K-1000 Rally 2017 – Round 5 of MRF FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship 2017, Bangalore|
|December 16||Club Kart Races, Blackbushe Airport, Surrey|
|December 16||Club Kart Races, Ellough Park Raceway|
|December 17||InKart Festival, Daytona Sandown Park|
|December 17||Summer Championship Kart Races, Buckmore Park, Kent|
Lamborghini revealed its much-anticipated 'super-SUV', the Urus, in Bologna, Italy. Upon first glance, a certainly looks like something with Lamborghini DNA in its veins. We're about to tell you why we think the Urus will make a lot of sense to Indian buyers. Rambo Lambo Version 2.0 Lamborghini's CEO Stefano Domenicali has said: "the Urus is a true Lamborghini – in terms of design, performance, driving dynamics and emotion – as well as being drivable every day in a range of environments." The aggressive front splitter and air-intakes channel air to the underbody. The styling you see was executed with the aim being aerodynamics. A host of slashes, cuts and edgy headlamps and tail lamps add to the Lambo family appeal. Lamborghini's old LM002 looks nothing like it, but the Urus is the second SUV since then, back in 1986. 'Power' for the course No V10s or V12s in this one; sorry folks. It gets twin-turbo V8 petrol, mounted at the front - making 650hp and 850Nm of torque - all of which is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox that is electro-hydraulically controlled. A torque converter has been specially developed to help boost engine response. 0-100kph comes up in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 306kph. The engine has been designed with central turbo-charger layout near the combustion chambers to improve engine response, with the twin-scroll turbos running in tandem, allowing for more power when fully loaded, while also reducing turbo lag. It also features two exhaust flows and cylinder deactivation in order to help bring down fuel consumption. The four-wheel-drive system features Torsen self-locking differential with torque split 40:60 to the independent front and rear axles, while the rear differential boasts of active torque vectoring which delivers power to each wheel, as per the driving mode, style and grip levels. Rear-wheel steering from the Aventador has been used on the Urus as well. The Urus is based on the same MLB Evo platform as the Bentayga, Q7 and Cayenne. The chassis uses aluminium and steel to maximise stiffness. Aluminium doors and torsional beams replace the C-pillar, and a kerb weight of less than 2200kgs has been achieved. It also sports adaptive air suspension that allows the SUV to be raised, depending on the conditions, and altered via different driving modes. Pirelli has produced a range of tyres to suit the rims- right from 21-23 inches. The Urus features six driving modes: Tamburo, Corsa, Strada, Neve(snow), Terra(off-road), Sabbia(sand) - the latter three of which raise the chassis to increase ground clearance. It also uses an electromechanical active roll stabilisation system to smoothen the ride quality. 'Ego' is a fully customisable drive mode, wherein the tuned damper valves are set to constantly adapt to the conditions. Going fast in comfort The dashboard features the 'Y' design, which is driver-oriented. There are loads of hexagonal design cues and elements that include the air vents and cuholders as well, typical of Lamborghinis. The three-spoke steering features vibration damping. You also get a customisable TFT driver information display and the new Lambo infotainment unit. Up-front, 12-way adjustable heated electric seats are on offer, while 18-way adjustable front seats come as as option. The rear gets a three-seat bench with Isofix points, or just two seats as an option, again. 616-litres of boot capacity is available, and will increase when the rear seats are folded flat. Built at a new factory in Sant'Agata, Lamborghini will produce about 7000 cars a car. As for an India launch - well, January 11th isn't too far away, is it?
The Apache RR310 was sure about its racing pedigree and we waited almost two years to get treated by the actual road-going model. Whether you are a hardcore riding enthusiast or enjoy learning about motorcycles in leisure time, you would be well-aware that the RR310 is not just any other Apache you have seen on the road.
That will play a key contribution for its sales. TVS is aiming at selling 10,000 units in the next 12 months and indeed has its hopes high. TVS is the most successful domestic two-wheeler brand on race track and has won accolades in aplenty through the decades and slowly everything dripped into the production version.
What hides underneath the Shark-inspired bodywork of the RR310 is some clever thinking from the engineers at TVS. You do get lost thinking that it’s more of a TVS Racing’s track bike for the road and the body graphics and minute details do reflect on the 35 years of racing experience. You are absolutely right though!
The level of commitment put on testing the bike is incredible. It has spent hours and hours of wind tunnel testing on an airstrip and more than 3,000 laps on MMRT to make sure the suspension setup is bang on. Clearly the most spec-keen of you might be skeptical over the pricing and consider that it is on the high side compared to the R3 that has one more cylinder and some more horsepower?
I would like to disagree because, on a simple case, the price difference between the RR and R3 is too big to justify on the Yamaha’s favour. But, how about its closest rival, the KTM RC390? The Austrian sportsbike is an absolute track weapon and would hardly serve the Apache enthusiasts looking to step up from their RTRs aiming for everyday use and versatility as part of the package.
So what really is the Apache RR310? It sits right in between the Yamaha R3 and the KTM RC 390 by trying to strike all the right chords they are famous for. TVS has positioned the engine inclined to the rear, so that, the wheelbase can be maintained shorter and the swing arm can be built longer for optimal agility and stability through corners.
The riding position is not as aggressive as the RC and combined with the tall windscreen and low seat height, it is in fact a sports tourer for daily road use. However, the aerodynamic vents and arguably the gorgeous stock bike design from an Indian motorcycle maker till date have plenty to do with its performance.
It has a low drag co-efficient for easing through the wind and gets world-renowned Kayaba made suspension while the closed loop fuel injection is from Bosch for apt feedback. The Apache RR310 shares engine and gearbox with the popular BMW G310R but to suit the super sport characteristics, there are some changes made.
For better initial acceleration the RR has a slightly bigger tooth sprocket while the chassis is tuned to differ from the naked street fighter for a touring as well as track-biased optimal setup. TVS decided to offer a full-spec dual ABS system with Bybre calipers and it works in tandem with the 41 mm USD forks and monoshock rear but the slipper clutch will be sorely missed.
So, the RR310 has the basics covered and indeed comes with more purpose than just outright speed and slots right in the middle of the rather-too-soft for track R3 and the strictly-track-ready RC390. The other main competitors have to be the Bajaj Dominar and KTM Duke 250. Both have the technical specifications to match the RR310 but the price bracket is so close that the buyers will get carried away by the TVS’ near-perfect looks.
Surprisingly, Sergey Sirotkin has now emerged as favourite to drive for Williams next year with Robert Kubica not under consideration anymore. The Crewe-based team spent last week evaluating the data gathered from Abu Dhabi Pirelli test at Yas Marina after running both Sirotkin and Kubica.
Kubica has so far been said to be the favourite to make a heroic comeback to F1 as the team was believed to be impressed by his feedback and the way he built up strong relationships within the team. However, on performance basis Sirotkin has emerged as the stronger candidate.
Williams earlier cleared that the decision to partner Lance Stroll will be based on performance mainly. It has been reported that conversations with the Russian have gone fruitful and he could be announced as the second driver but there are some important details yet to be finalised.
Having spent time with Renault as its reserve driver this past season, Sirotkin is said to bring substantial backing in the region of £15 million from Russia's SMP Racing - founded by the owner of SMP Bank. If the deal does not click, former Toro Rosso and Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat is the remaining option as Kubica and Paul di Resta are completely ruled out of the equation.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne seems to be looking to revive his group’s illustrious names in motorsport. He has successfully made Alfa Romeo the title sponsor of Sauber for next season and it could be followed by Maserati into F1 reportedly.
Italian media says Ferrari is currently holding talks of rebranding its partnership with the Haas team to fit in Maserati into Grand Prix racing scenes once again. Maserati has a storied history to back it up as Juan Manuel Fangio was the first to bring the Bologna-based marque to success during the 1957 season.
He claimed a world title for Maserati and strengthened its spot within the sport for following years. In the last five decades though the Italian brand was nowhere to be seen and in order bring it back to past glory and of course increase the footprint of the brand, Marchionne appears to be eyeing a partnership with Haas.
Corriere della Sera speculated that Marchionne and team owner Gene Haas are in discussions and the American big-shot reportedly declined to comment. This would also mean that the supercar brand’s quit threat of F1 in nothing but a hoax and as some say, Ferrari needs F1 as much as F1 needs Ferrari.