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Pitstop: The diesel deal

Last updated on: July 12, 2003 18:02 IST

The Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7, as we know it, comes fitted with a storming 2700 CC, 155 bhp V6 that's high on performance, but a bit low on economy.

Elsewhere, the five-door Vitara has been available with a turbodiesel, and now the smaller three-door Vitara also gets a diesel option.

With its very off-road-capable packaging (separate chassis, low-ratio gearbox, shift-on-the-fly 4WD), and a new 1997 CC common-rail diesel that produces 107 bhp, the small Vitara could be just the thing for those looking at a nifty yet economical sport-ute.

It's not blindingly fast (0 to 100 kph in 13.3 seconds, and a 160 kph top speed), but the diesel Vitara is all-around capable. We think it looks like a likely CBU candidate for Maruti to bring to India. What say?

Porsche racer rules

Next up in the never-ending 911 saga is the GT3 RS. Built as a homologation special, the RS' purpose in life is to serve as a road-legal basis for GT-class motorsport.

And it makes its racing intent amply clear -- the RS is a full fifty kg lighter than the current 911 GT3 Club Sport, and is fitted with an FIA-spec roll cage. The 3600 CC six-cylinder is potent as ever (how does 381 bhp at 7300 rpm grab you?), and can propel the car from 0 to 100 kph in a scant 4.4 seconds, and on to a top whack of 305 kph.

A close-ratio six-speed gearbox helps in keeping the engine on the boil, and suspension components have been optimised for the track. And just to make sure people don't stop gaping, there's a huge spoiler at the back, RS badging, and of course, a Rs 70 lakh price tag!

The 6 suffix

Ever since they went away in 1989, 6 Series BMWs have been missed. And now, at long last, they're slated for a comeback.

Due to be launched at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the new BMW 645Ci Coupé promises an enticing blend of power and performance.

The car will feature a 4400 CC V8 (333 bhp), sequential SMG gearbox, and extensive use of lightweight materials. It will, reportedly, sprint from 0 to 100 kph in only 5.6 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 250 kph.

The car has near-perfect 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, and the now-ubiquitous Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) to make sure the driver doesn't go awry.

Now let's wait and see what Audi, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have to say about the new 6 Series.

Cool blue

Though the Skoda Fabia is yet to put in an appearance here, it seems to be going places in other markets. There is now a new Fabia Silverline special edition doing the rounds, as is a new Blueline version.

And the Octavia is not left behind either -- both special edition versions are available on the bigger car as well. What you get for the extra money is twin front airbags, 14-inch alloys, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, electric front windows, remote central locking and a CD stereo.

The Blue/Silverline Fabia is available in hatchback and estate variants, with the latter being marginally more expensive.

The Octavia gets a whiff of Skoda's WRC magic -- RS styling cues on a car that's otherwise sedate. You get 16-inch alloys, ABS, twin front airbags, leather trim, and six-disc CD autochanger.

Engines remain mild -- choose between 102 bhp 1.6 MPI, and a 90 bhp 1.9 TDi (which powers the Octavia 1.9 sold in India) petrol and diesel units.

No, they won't be breaking any performance records, but both are frugal. Now let's see if any of these special edition Skodas find their way to our shores. . .
BS Motoring Bureau