Happy New Year folks! It’s time to usher in 2019 and take a glance back at 2018. From the reveal of the 2019 Porsche 911 to the EV offensive by Mercedes-Benz and Audi; the Tata Nexon becoming the first car from an Indian manufacturer to achieve a five star rating at the Global NCAP crash tests, records were made and sales milestones were achieved along with some great cars making it to our shores. Here is a list of news and events that grabbed eyeballs this year:
2019 Porsche 911
Porsche revealed the eighth generation 911 at the 2018 LA Auto Show, and it become the most anticipated car of 2019 after pictures of the car undergoing final testing surfaced online. While the silhouette of the car remains unchanged, Porsche has made subtle styling tweaks to the car and extracted more power as well. The 2019 911 is now more powerful and faster, accelerating to 100kmph from standstill in 3.7 seconds (RWD) and 3.6 seconds (AWD) respectively. It also gets the 10.9-inch touch screen infotainment system that made its debut in the Panemera. In a first, Porsche has introduced a Wet mode as standard, to assist the driver in slippery conditions. Know more about the 2019 Porsche 911 here.
Porsche celebrated its 70th birthday in 2018 and to make the occasion special, showcased a number of cars (including the drool-worthy Project Gold) and also announced the name of its first electric car – the Taycan. Showcased as the Mission E, the all-electric car from Porsche has made it to production. Porsche says that the Taycan will develop a combined power output of 592bhp from its synchronous motors and will accelerate to 100kmph from standstill in less than 3.5 seconds and will hit the 200kmph barrier in less than 12 seconds. It also boasts of a range of more than 500km on a single charge in the NEDC cycle. The company also made a statement that come 2025, more than 50 per cent of Porsche models will be electrified. Tesla, watch out!
Nissan – Italdesign GT-R50
The Nissan GT-R, affectionately called ‘Godzilla’, celebrated its 50th birthday. Italdesign, the Italian design major, also turned 50 in 2018 and to celebrate the occasion, the companies collaborated to make perhaps the most outlandish looking Nissan GT-R ever made. Christened the GT-R50, the interior and exterior of the car was done by Nissan Design Europe in London and Nissan Design America. Power is up by 110bhp thanks to two GT3 competition-spec turbochargers and other tweaks in the engine. Limited to only 50 examples worldwide, the car will cost a staggering Euro 1 million.
Just when you thought that the Chiron was IT, Bugatti pulled another rabbit out of the hat and surprised everyone with the Divo, its flagship hypercar. It is still powered by the same 7993cc quad-turbocharged W16 engine developing 1479bhp and an earth-twisting 1600Nm. Named after French racing driver and two-time Targa Florio winner Albert Divo, the Divo is based on the Chiron. The carbon fibre body, however, is reworked along with the design and aerodynamics. Bugatti has also tweaked the suspension settings to enhance aerodynamics. The adjustable rear spoiler is 23 per cent wider than the Chiron. As a result of all the tweaks, the Divo generates 90kg more downforce than the Chiron. The Divo costs Euro 5 million (approx Rs 40 crore) and even if you had the dough to buy one, you cannot have one, as all 40 examples made are already sold out.
Behold, the first hypercar from an Indian manufacturer! After showcasing the Shul at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, Vazirani Automotive showcased its hypercar in Mumbai. The Shul will be powered by a turbine electric power train which is claimed to develop more than 1000 horses! The car is still under development and Chunky Vazirani, the man behind Vazirani Automotive, says that they are experimenting with different materials to keep the weight in check. The bodyshell of the car would be entirely made of carbon fibre, with a claimed weight distribution close to 50:50. Only 25 examples will be made and it will take another three years for the company to bring the Shul into production.
Say hello to Audi’s first all-electric SUV, which will enter series production soon. The e-tron doesn’t look as radical as one might have imagined. The change is gradual and there are a number of features to distinguish it from its IC engined cousin, like the lack of exhaust pipes and e-tron moniker on the flanks. Powering the e-tron are two electric motors (one mounted on each axle) that produce a combined output of 402bhp and 664Nm of torque to drive all four wheels via its new quattro AWD system. Audi says that it will shatter the 100kmph barrier in less than 5.7 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz EQC and AMG One
With the EQC, Mercedes-Benz joins the Jaguar i-Pace and the Audi e-tron to rival the Tesla Model X in the electric SUV space. The EQC boasts a 0-100kmph time of 4.1 seconds, thanks to a 402bhp combined power output from its twin motors. The company says the EQC will have a range of 450km (as per NEDC cycle). But the Model X has an edge over its competitors as it has the necessary hardware to support autonomous driving in the near future, which its competitors lack.
Mercedes-AMG’s hypercar concept got a new name – AMG One and the images of the car were revealed by the company. Previously, images of the test mule undergoing testing also surfaced online, garnering interest. It is one of the most radical looking products from Mercedes, with its striking design and aerodynamics inspired from an F1 car. This AWD beast, powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol V6 and electric motors in the front wheels, has a redline of 11,000rpm! Read more about the AMG One here.
Paris Motor Show
Many new cars were revealed at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Ferrari showcased its Monza SP1 and SP2 concept cars, part of its ‘Icona’ limited series. Both these cars take inspiration from the company’s motorsport activities back in the 1950s. Porsche showcased its GT3-based 911 Speedster concept and BMW revealed the seventh-gen 3 Series sedan.
At first glance, it might seem that the SUV is attached to that enormous kidney grill. That’s BMW’s flagship SUV, the X7, set to take on the Range Rover. The X7 will go on sale in April 2019 for international markets. This top-of-the-line SUV gets the latest gizmos and toys to play with. There’s a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, four-zone AC as standard, optional equipment like 10.2-inch screens embedded into the back of front seats, a Blu-Ray player, two USB ports and more. Taking a cue from Rolls-Royce, BMW has equipped the X7 with a starlit roof, where LED lights shine across the inside surface of the glass roof that’s then reflected by over 15,000 patterns in the roof. Read more about the X7 here.
Tata Motors – Jayem Automotive alliance
Tata Motors and Jayem Automotive formed a 50-50 partnership to create JTSV (Jayem Tata Special Vehicles), for higher powered variants of the Tata Tiago and Tigor JTP, making it the first ever affordable, all-Indian, OEM performance venture for the average Indian consumer. The cars are powered by the 1.2-litre turbo petrol from the Nexon, albeit with tweaks made to the engine to bump up the performance. Expect more Tata vehicles to be tuned by JTSV and rolled out from select Tata dealerships. Now, how many of you want a Nexon JTP?
Tata Nexon 5-star rating in Global NCAP
Nexon has created history for Tata Motors by becoming the first Indian-made car to achieve a five star rating in Global NCAP crash tests. Earlier, the car had scored 4 stars in the crash test and according to the report, this time it had to pass a side impact test to gain the fifth star. Tata Motors bounced back after making the required changes as per UN95 side impact protection requirements and crash-tested the Nexon again, earning the coveted five-star rating from Global NCAP. Child occupancy protection remains the same with a three star rating. Nexon has raised the bar for safety in its class. This result is applicable to Nexons produced after December 7, 2018.
Much has been said done about Tata Motor’s flagship SUV, the Harrier. Aimed squarely at the Hyundai Creta and the Jeep Compass, Tata Motors has created a very desirable product which has everyone drooling over its looks. Due to be launched this month, we sampled the Harrier in Rajasthan last year. The Harrier is the first Tata vehicle to sport the company’s ‘Impact 2.0 design’ language and is based on a Land Rover Discovery platform. Click here to read our drive review of the Harrier.
Hyundai rolls out its 8 millionth car
Staggering, isn’t it? Hyundai achieved this feat in just 19 years and six months since it started its India operations. The 8 millionth car is a Hyundai Creta. Hyundai has sold 5.3 million cars in India and manufactured 2.7 million more for global markets. The South Korean carmaker aims to achieve the 10 million mark by 2021. The Hyundai Santro has also made its comeback and is bound to increase sales volumes. When it comes to blending style, features and value for money in one neat package, Hyundai is still ahead of its rivals. Recently, the company also introduced fingerprint technology for cars.
Another milestone for Suzuki Motor Corp
Months after the launch of the third gen Swift in the country, Suzuki Motor Corporation achieved another milestone – it rolled out its 20 millionth vehicle for India, a Swift, from its Gujarat plant. India is the fastest country in the world to reach production of 20 million units in 34 years and 5 months since Suzuki Motor Corporation started production in the country back in 1983. The company has three production facilities in India – Gurgaon, Manesar and Gujarat. This year, the company also launched the all-new Ertiga and come January 2019, Maruti Suzuki is all set to launch the all new Wagon R. Exciting year ahead, we say.
Think there’s anything we may have missed? Do let us know in the comments section.