2020 Mahindra Thar spotted testing in Chennai

| Mahindra's lifestyle off-roader is all set for a complete makeover |

| 2020 Thar gets evolutionary styling, thoroughly-updated interiors and a powerful, new engine to go with it's legendary off-roading prowess |

| Factory-fitted hard-top and forward-facing rear seats are finally on offer |

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. And the end is what the current-generation Mahindra Thar is staring at! Despite its total dominance on the niche it is currently occupying and the relentless love showered on it by its small yet loyal group of followers, the upcoming emission and crash safety norms meant the Nashik-based car-maker had no choice but to upgrade their lifestyle offering. And the smart folks at Mahindra did that in style by retiring the current-generation model with the limited edition Thar 700 that's on sale right now.

Work on the next-generation model is in full swing already, as is evident from these shots that capture a test mule parked by the roadside. Spotted on the busy GST Road in Chennai that also houses the Mahindra Research Valley, the test vehicle was quite an attention grabber. And therein lies Thar's charm! 

With straight lines and boxy proportions that draw more than a passing resemblance to the Jeeps of yore, the all-new Thar is a stunner even with all the camouflage it wears. Up front, the trademark 7-slot grille and round headlights seem to be carried over with little changes. What has changed though are the external hood hinges. The plastic hinges look pleasing in place of those rudimentary metallic ones on the current model. Both the bumpers are all-new as are the fender flares and - wait for it - the factory-fitted hard top (Soft top would be available as an option too). Some old bits, like the front indicators, taillights, rear view mirrors and flap-type door handles, remain but we're guessing Mahindra would be prudent enough to replace them with sleeker units that take up the style quotient by a few notches. 

A quick peep into the cabin revealed that the interiors are getting a much-needed revamp as well. The dashboard and center console were new but unfinished with provision for fitting a touchscreen infotainment system. We can also confirm the presence of a multi-function steering wheel, power windows for the front doors and forward-facing rear seats with seatbelts! Yes, you read that right! It sounds crazy but the Thar on sale in 2019 does not have any of these. Apart from these basic creature comforts, the new Thar would also come with dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, seat-belt reminders and a speed-alert system as mandated by the new safety laws. Overall, the new Thar would be a far more comfortable place to be in for the occupants.

The all-new Thar is said to be built on Mahindra's third-gen platform that also underpins models like the Scorpio and TUV3OO. That explains why it appears longer and wider than the current model. Thanks to the upgraded chassis, the suspension setup is changing for the better too with the current Thar's leaf springs making way for an independent suspension. Expect the new Thar to ride plusher, handle tighter and cruise better on highways than the outgoing model. But cruising on highways is not what Thars are made for. Mahindra would not disturb the Thar's legendary off-roading credentials which means the manually-operated four-wheel-drive system with low-range selector and differential locks are likely to be retained.

Under the hood, Mahindra is expected to plonk in a new BS-VI compliant 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine that churns out 140 horsepower. That's substantially more powerful than the outgoing model's 2.5-liter CRDe diesel engine and should help the Thar's cause both on- and off-road. A 6-speed manual transmission is likely to be offered. If rumour mills are to be believed, a petrol engine and an automatic transmission could also make their way into the Thar at a later date. 

Mahindra is expected to unveil the all-new Thar at the 2020 Auto Expo with the vehicle going on sale a few months later. If the current Thar with all it's limitations can be as successful as it did, the new Thar - in all likelihood - is going to be a smash hit! Don't expect it to come cheap though.


Next-gen Audi A6 spotted testing in Pune

| Audi's 5-Series and E-Class rival is all set for a makeover |

| Edgy styling, cutting-edge tech and feature-rich interiors are on the cards |

| More powerful 2.0-liter petrol (45 TFSI) is on the way too |

Brand Audi has become synonymous with luxury SUVs in India, thanks to the undisputed success and popularity of the Q7 and its smaller siblings amongst the elite crowd in the country. But, sedans continue to be a mainstay in the German brand's portfolio just like arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 

With the new 5-Series and E-Class already on sale in India, Audi's A6 is the only mid-size luxury sedan that's at the end of its life cycle. If these spy-shots are anything to go by, that's not going to be the case for long. The all-new, eighth-generation A6 is on it's way here and Audi was caught testing the car in the outskirts of Pune!

As always, Audi has chosen an evolutionary approach when it comes to the new model's design. The new A6 is instantly recognizable as an Audi but looks edgier and sportier for good measure. Be it the sharp new headlights, the re-profiled grille, the swanky taillights or the new rear bumper with fake chrome-tipped exhausts, the new A6 impresses all around. Crucially, the new A6 appears bigger than the current model as well which should help its cause when it comes to the all-important rear seat space and comfort. If the global model is anything to go by, the new A6's interiors will be completely new with a snazzier design, cutting-edge technology and a plethora of features as one would expect from a car in this segment and price range. 

Interestingly, Audi is bringing in a more powerful petrol engine under the hood of the new A6, as evident from the '45 TFSI' badge visible in one of the shots. This nomenclature corresponds to a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged unit in international markets that generates 245 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque. Mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the power is sent to all four wheels through Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. This is a significant step up compared to the 1.8-liter mill in the current A6 that churns out 190 horsepower and sends them to the front wheels only. Those 55 extra horses and additional grip would give the new A6 owners bragging rights over those who own the cheaper A4s and Octavias that share the engine.

The 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder diesel from the current A6 is also expected to join the lineup once the necessary upgrades for making it BS-VI compliant are done.

While the current A6 retails for a little over INR 50 Lakhs, the prices of the new A6 is sure to go up with all the said improvements. Audi is still tight-lipped on the launch date but expect them to bring this as soon as they can if they don't want to continue losing out to their rivals.


All-new Hyundai i10 caught undergoing pre-launch testing in Chennai

| All-new i10 caught testing in Chennai |

| This is the third-generation of Hyundai's highly-successful hatchback |

| Indian launch is expected towards the end of August |

Hyundai's smash hit, Grand i10, is at the fag end of its life cycle. Launched in 2013, the hatchback - together with the i20 and the Creta - has been the mainstay of the Korean brand's stronghold in India. That the Grand i10 is still a staple in the list of best-selling cars in the country stands testimony to it's popularity and success. 

The upcoming third-generation model, then, has quite big shoes to fill in. Slated for a launch in India later this month followed by it's global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the all-new i10 was caught undergoing what should be one of its final rounds of testing in the busy GST Road in Chennai.

While the first-generation i10 was Made-in-India for the world, Hyundai followed a different approach for the car's second-generation. Europe had a smaller version similar in size to it's predecessor while India had a bigger version with a longer wheelbase and a 'Grand' prefix. For the third-generation though, Hyundai appears to be going back to 'one-size-and-shape-fits-all' strategy.

Compare the two test mules featured in the post with the teaser image posted by Hyundai Europe and you will know why. The C-pillar featuring a rising window-line that shrinks and then expands into a wraparound rear windshield hints at an aggressive and stylish makeover hidden beneath the camouflage. Like all new Hyundais, design cues like the cascading grille and wraparound lights are expected to be part of i10's roster. In terms of size, expect the all-new model to be on par with the current Grand i10; that should make it a fairly-spacious urban runabout.

The interiors are likely to undergo a complete makeover as well with all the features and connectivity options we have come to expect in this day and age. Hyundai is likely to retain the 1.2-liter Kappa petrol and the 1.1-liter U2 diesel engines, albeit with both of them upgraded to meet BS-VI emission norms. While the 5-speed manual transmission is likely to be carried over, the archaic 4-speed automatic transmission is rumoured to give way to an in-house developed Automated Manual Transmission. 

With Maruti-Suzuki going all guns blazing with the new Swift, the new i10 can't come any sooner for Hyundai. This battle would be an interesting one to watch!