20160726

Anything On Wheels turns 7!


Based on a close buddy's advice, it was on this day in 2009 the URL anything-on-wheels.blogspot.in went live.​ Yes,​ Anything On Wheels has turned seven today​, transforming from being a personal blog of a car-loving individual to a reliable source of recent industry developments in the process. 

​While this still is a personal blog when it comes to content​, there are a bunch of others - photography enthusiasts that accompany me​ for the shoots,​ friends and followers who become auto-journalists momentarily to get that exclusive spy-shot, pals next door and from abroad who don't mind calling up at midnight to point out a silly typo or two in the posts - its these people that have helped Anything On Wheels reach here. 'I' became 'We', personal rants turned into honest opinions and suggestions and, from what our readers say, the quality and content of posts have gone up tremendously.
What an experience this has been? Managing our professional careers and yet spending time, efforts and, at times, money to do what we love hasn't been easy at all. But when family members consider blogging as a crucial household assignment and leave us alone when we are at it, we couldn't ask for more.

​In these seven years, Anything On Wheels has had:
  • 635,266 Clicks
  • 573 Posts
  • 127 exclusive Spy Shots
  • 33 Drive Reports
These numbers are hardly intimidating, we know. But that hasn't stopped us from coming up with these special collages that, we think, quite effectively bring out what we did since we started out in 2009.



Wish us well for the journey ahead and for those patrons who've been cheering for us despite having a plethora of better options out there, please continue to do so. We will strive to live up to your expectations.

Cheers!

20160721

Hyundai's 'Made in India' i20 crosses 1 Million unit sales

A little less than a decade back, when manufacturing cars in India and exporting them to advanced markets in Europe was unheard of, it was Hyundai that laid the foundation for the 'Make in India - Made for World' approach. The i10 in 2007 and the i20 in 2008 were made right here in Chennai for the whole world. In just 8 years since its launch, the South Korean manufacturer has crossed a sales milestone of 1,000,000 units for the 'Made-in-India' i20. That's quite a feat, given that a significant portion of that sales is from India, a market where premium hatchbacks were non-sellers just a few years back.


When it debuted in 2008, the i20 was supposed to be an export-oriented model for Hyundai Motor India with internal forecasts for domestic sales said to be a paltry 1000 units a month. As sales in India kept rising, at times as high as 6500 units, Hyundai had to rejig production to accommodate more domestic cars and less export cars. From 2008 to 2014, a total of 757,035 i20s rolled out of the company's plant in Chennai with an almost equal split between domestic sales and exports. 

When the second-generation model was launched as the 'Elite i20' in India, Hyundai had smartly moved European production to its facility in Turkey, freeing up more capacity for domestic production. In less than 2 years, sales including the i20 Active has surpassed 260,075 units with just 23,757 of them exported. It just goes to show the amazing popularity that the Elite i20 enjoys in India despite tough competition from Maruti-Suzuki's big-selling Baleno.


With stylish looks, feature-packed interiors, option of a refined petrol or a powerful yet frugal diesel engine and superb quality, fit and finish, the Elite i20's dream run in India looks unstoppable at the moment. Though not catered to from India, the i20's prospects in Europe got a much-needed fillip of late, the i20's recent victory in the World Rally Championship (WRC) helping the cause.

Let more and more i20s roll out. Let the 'Made in India' flag fly higher!

20160712

Ford launches its iconic Mustang GT in India

The Ford Mustang might be an automotive icon with an enviable legacy dating back to the sixties but the current sixth-generation model is the first to be developed with the option of a right-hand drive (RHD) configuration. Sure enough, Ford has wasted no time in bringing the popular American muscle car to India.


Launched earlier today at the Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi with much fanfare, it’s the hard-top GT Fastback variant of the Mustang that has made it to our shores as speculated. At INR 65 Lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, the Mustang GT isn’t cheap but given that its imported as a Completely Built Unit (CBU), the pricing is quite good. Problem is, this Ford will end up competing with luxury sedans and sport coupes from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and the likes.


If killer looks and eyeball-popping presence are what you require, the Mustang GT has them in droves. The Mustang's retro styling elements mixed with modern design touches look aggressive, sexy and undeniably distinct. The sharp nose, those wide shoulders, the raked roofline and the flared wheel arches impart a sense of muscularity to the Mustang that few rivals can match. Sleek headlights with triple LED slashes, classic triple-bar LED taillights and the mirror-mounted puddle lamps that project the Mustang 'pony' logo look dramatic and ups the style quotient further.

The Mustang might rival some German luxury cars on price but it isn’t a luxury car. Set the expectations accordingly and the cabin will appear reasonably plush and well-equipped with premium black leather upholstery sprinkled with chrome detailing. Standard features include dual zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry with push button start, a 9-speaker sound system with an 8-inch touchscreen, SYNC 2 connectivity and Voice Control, 6-way power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, heated mirrors, automatic headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.


A full suite of safety features including eight airbags, Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Pull Drift Compensation, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Hill Launch Assist complement Mustang’s much-loved handling capabilities. 

If its gorgeous looks and feature-packed interiors aren't convincing enough, what's lying under that long and bulging hood of the Mustang GT will make you go weak on your knees. The 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 has been detuned for India but still churns out 396 bhp and a whopping 515 Nm of torque. A 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters transmits all that power and torque to the rear wheels.


Drivers can choose from four driving modes - Normal, Sport+, Track and Snow/Wet - each of which activates predefined powertrain and chassis calibrations, by tapping one of the many classy aviation-inspired toggle switches on the dashboard. The Mustang is also equipped with an electronic line lock that locks the front wheels while leaving the rear wheels free to spin, a tool that lets you perfect those crowd-stopping burnouts.   

Since its launch in 1964, the Ford Mustang has sold more than 9 million units globally with the latest sixth-generation model emerging as the world's best-selling sports coupe last year. 

With such credentials to go with its ballistic power, drop-dead gorgeous looks and fun-to-drive nature, the Mustang is the sort of car our dreams are made of. Its no wonder then the Mustang got such an arousing reception at the 2016 Auto Expo earlier this year. We won't be surprised if Ford manages to sell the first few hundred units allotted for India within the first few weeks.

20160703

Porsche debuts the new Panamera in a visually-transformed, Nurburgring lap record-breaking avatar


The all-new Porsche Panamera made its debut last week at an event held in Berlin, Germany. Currently in its second generation, the sporty luxury sedan from Porsche has clearly carved a niche for itself in the market, something we thought the Panamera would struggle to do when it first debuted in 2009.

What worked for the Panamera was the fact it successfully bridged the gap between the performance of a sports car and the comfort of a luxury sedan and, more importantly in our view, Porsche's welcoming and 'open-to-experiments' loyalists. The Stuttgart-based brand, after all, churned out nothing but sports cars not so long ago. Now, it's the two SUVs and Panamera that bring in more volumes and revenue for Porsche than the iconic 911 and its derivatives.


The first-generation Panamera's design was a hit or a miss and that humpback whale-like derriere was quite an eyesore. Despite being just an evolutionary change, the new Panamera has smitten us. It's remarkable what a little nip here and a tuck there has resulted in! The new Panamera looks more pleasing and less oddball while flaunting the classic 'coke-bottle' silhouette that the 911 has been gracefully carrying for so many decades. The new Panamera is longer, wider and taller than before but the front wheels have moved outwards, the wheelbase has increased and the height above the rear of the passenger compartment has come down, giving the car a mean 'glued-to-the-road' stance. Porsche's characteristic 'flyline', or in other words the way the roof line drops down, leaves no stone unturned in impressing upon the fact that we are looking at a four-door coupe.

Distinct, four-point LED Daytime Running Lights up front are paired with matching four-point brake lights at the rear. A narrow LED strip runs across the full width of the car and looks dramatic when illuminated. We are told this is going to be a Porsche trademark in future!


The Porsche Advanced Cockpit aboard the new Panamera results in a cabin that sees touch-sensitive surfaces and digital screens replace cluttered buttons and switches. An analogue tachometer greets the driver with two 7-inch displays on either sides.

What matters most on a new Porsche is not the way it looks or feels from the inside but the speed at which it accelerates and the way it drives. In that sense, the new Panamera definitely won't disappoint prospective customers. Engine options include a 550 horsepower V8 petrol, a 440 horsepower V6 petrol and a 422 horsepower V8 diesel, all featuring biturbo direct injection technology. A 8-speed Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK) and permanent all wheel drive system are standard across all three engine options. The top-spec 'Turbo' variant with the V8 petrol under its hood and the Sport Chrono package can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a measly 3.6 seconds. If you ever need a sedan that can comfortably confront and pass sports cars, this is it!

Would you believe us if we tell you that the Panamera beat cars like the Lamborghini Murcielago SV, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Porsche's own 911 GT3, Ferrari F430 Scuderia and the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio by clocking an incredible 7 minute and 38 seconds lap around the Nurburgring Nordschleife? Yes, it's that quick!

Sporty and elegant sedans are the kind of cars that make our Sunday mornings so much better and the Panamera did just that today. So what if you can't go and drive one now? Check the new Panamera inside and out in the official video released by Porsche.

video

20160619

Rolls-Royce and Mini celebrate BMW Group's centenary, unveil 'Vision Next 100' Concepts of their own


One hundred years. That's quite a milestone to survive. BMW Group has did just that and are celebrating their centenary with bold concepts predicting the next 100 years. While we saw BMW's vision of a car of the next century earlier this year, it is time now to look at what Rolls-Royce and Mini think of themselves a hundred years from now!


Named the 'Vision Next 100 Concept' just like its BMW sibling, Rolls-Royce's prediction of its future car looks bonkers. Its either distinctively futuristic or downright ridiculous and nothing in between. The big trapezoidal grille with the 'Spirit of Ecstasy' proudly on top and the long hood are just like the ones we see in Rolls-Royce motor cars today but that's where the similarity ends. The pinched fascia, the hidden wheels, the sloping roofline and the whole car itself tries too hard to look different. While no details are released, an electric drivetrain is said to be the mode of propulsion. Of course, its autonomous and does away with the need for a driver's seat and even the steering wheel. With just a plush sofa in there and a big OLED screen in front, this is literally a lounge on wheels.


Rolls-Royce says the Vision Next 100 Concept is a culmination of what Rolls-Royce patrons could expect from their car in the coming decades and the brand's own vision of how to meet those expectations. We bet those said patrons didn't see what was coming when they gave their inputs! Personal Vision, Effortless Journey, The Grand Sanctuary and The Grand Arrival are said to be the key tenets of this future vision from Rolls-Royce. Whatever they call it, we think its just too weird and polarizing!


Mini played its part and contributed to the centenary celebrations with its vision of a car of the next century. And quite unlike the Rolls-Royce, the Mini Vision Next 100 Concept looks a lot like the current Mini. The classic silhouette, the heavy floating roof, the circular headlamps and the lean greenhouse atop a wide lower half are all there, just a bit modernized and tuned to the future. 


Mini predicts the future would be car-sharing and to ensure the car is adaptable to those driving it, Mini has made the car a blank canvas that responds and changes to the individual user. Thankfully, Mini thinks humans will still like to drive as often as possible. So there is a steering wheel that can be slid in the space between the driver and the co-passenger if the occupants wish to switch to autonomous driving. A central circular instrument that's so typical of the Minis of today finds its place in the cabin. Its cheekily called a 'Cooperizer' and acts as a link between the driver and the car's digital intelligence. As expected, a zero-emission electric drive system is said to be sitting underneath that diminutive shell.

Now that we are done with seeing how BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini envision them 100 years from now, let's see what BMW Motorrad has in store later this year!