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India-specific beauties that wowed Auto Expo

Last updated on: January 11, 2010 17:19 IST

India-specific beauties that wowed Auto Expo

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Bijoy Kumar Y


India-specific hatchbacks took centrestage at the 10th Auto Expo, in New Delhi.

MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG

What is it?
A thoroughly modern and magnificent interpretation of the classic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (nicknamed "Gullwing" for the way the doors open). Built by AMG (the arm of the three-pointed star that builds insanely powerful versions), the SLS comes in place of the McLaren-Mercedes-Benz SLR. Indeed, it's the most exotic car of the show.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Fifteen! The V8 pumps out 560 bhp and that helps it to do 100 kph by the time you are halfway through this sentence (3.8 seconds).

Will set you back by...
Close to Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million). Mercedes-Benz is keen on bringing the car to India the moment right-hand drive versions are available.

Prospective buyer?
This is the supercar for the flamboyant yet not-so-young. Vijay Mallya fits the bill -- he already has two of the original 300 SLs.  Click NEXT to check out further. . .


Image: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Photographs: Courtesy, Mercedes-Benz India
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MERCEDES-BENZ S 500L

What is it?

The BMW 7 Series is giving it a tough fight, but in the minds of many, the finest automobile in the world still continues to be the S-Class. Now with the new E-Class featuring V6 power packs, it was important for Mercedes-Benz India to bring in the big V8 engine at an interesting price point. Mind you, this car is loaded and comes with everything short of the proverbial kitchen sink.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Ten. The naturally aspirated V8 engine is good for 388 thoroughbreds from 5500cc. Enough to haul corporate mass -- egos and everything else.

Will set you back by...
It really looks like a steal at Rs 95 lakh (Rs 9.5 million) -- ex-showroom Delhi.

Prospective buyer?
This is in the big firm CEO league. You've got an S-Class means you can either a) Hunt for the meaning of life in the Himalayas or b) Put down your deposit on that Learjet or c) Start hunting for that trophy wife.


Image: Mercedes-Benz S500L

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BMW 760LI

What is it?

This is the fifth-generation of the BMW flagship. Its mission in life is to fight it out with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Audi A8. With Audi about to launch an all-new car and Mercedes revamping the S-Class, the Munich firm decided to bring the twelve-cylinder engine into the Indian game. The Seven has that "I don't care two hoots about anyone and anything" attitude and the new engine helps matters too.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Fifteen. The engine displaces 6000cc (imagine 60 Hero Honda CD100s parked in a line!) to develop 536 bhp and 75 kgm of torque.

Will set you back by...
The uber-BMW is priced at Rs 1.29 crore (Rs 12.9 million) ex-showroom Delhi and comes with more goodies than we need on Indian roads. For example, a lane change warning system -- we need lanes first, right?

Prospective buyer?
Ahem, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a satisfied BMW 7 Series customer -- though his last-gen 7 is of the 'thick-skinned' variety. Despite its national-monument-on-wheels attributes, the 7 is also a fine automobile to drive. Hence it is a good buy for those who would like to dispense with their chauffeurs on Sundays.


Image: BMW 760LI

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BMW X6 M

What is it?

In the beginning, there was the X5 -- BMW's first attempt at SUVs. Then came the X6 -- a segment-buster that looks like a sports car on steroids rather than an SUV. Now the power mongers at BMW's M division have joined the party and the result is a very quick, very fast SUV that you should be worried about.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Fifteen. The engine of this BMW can play the role of captive power plants for small villages with its 555 bhp output. Tree stumps have no chance with 68 kgm of torque either. It takes just 4.7 seconds to touch the 100 kph mark -- brilliant for an SUV indeed.

Will set you back by...
Rs 1.3 crore (Rs 13 million) -- ex-showroom Delhi -- buys you extreme performance.

Prospective buyer?
The perfect buyer is Sachin Tendulkar. Power-packed yet sleek, the X6 M can complement the M5 that the master drives when he is not doing the same through the covers. Enough room for the kit too.


Image: BMW's X6 ActiveHybrid.
Photographs: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
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AUDI R8

What is it?

This is the most successful supercar of our times -- Audi manages to sell around 4,000 cars a year -- the recession notwithstanding. It may not have the pornographic effect that Ferraris and Lamborghinis have on school kids. But Audi does not care, since these kids grow up, make money and buy Audis.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Eleven. The 420 bhp developed by the screaming 4200cc V8 engine situated behind the driver is more than adequate to propel this lightweight marvel with more aluminium in it than a five-star kitchen.

Will set you back by...
The Rs 1.17 crore (Rs 11.7 million) ex-showroom Delhi for the R8 puts it close to the Porsche 911 Turbo. Tough choice, huh?

Prospective buyer?
This is meant for the guy who wants to be discreet about owning a supercar and his ability to drive one. The closet racer? Absolutely. Certainly not the young Singhania, then.


Image: Audi R8 V12 TDI.
Photographs: Rebecca Cook/Reuters
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JAGUAR XJ

What is it?

The newest Jaguar around. Jaguar is used to battling German car makers and they know that a large dose of Britishness is what their buyers are looking for. Sure, they gave a large dollop of that to the new XJ. It looks a more passionate effort at car making than its traditional rivals wearing readymade suits.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Ten. This Jaguar is about luxury rather than sheer pace -- but a supercharged version with 500 bhp plus on tap is around the corner. The V8 currently displaces 5000cc -- nice and round indeed.

Will set you back by...
Since Tata Motors has to import the XJ, be prepared to shell over a crore (10 million) of rupees for this cat then.

Prospective buyer?
Jaguar and royalty are words that go together well. And we are not talking Yuvraj Singh here. Need we say more?


Image: Jaguar XJ

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CHEVROLET CAMARO SS

What is it?

The quintessential American muscle car reborn. This is the fifth generation Camaro which started rolling out in 2009 after not being in production since 2002. Here is a secret -- we drove a V6-powered version across America for the cover story of the 11th anniversary issue of Business Standard Motoring magazine -- please buy (of course that was a plug!). And yes, the yellow SS is the Transformer star.

How many Maruti 800s under the hood?
Eleven. The Camaro SS uses a 6200cc V8 engine to develop a lazy 426 horses in typical American style. Still, it's enough to spin Pirellis to sickness as and when you are ready.

Will set you back by...
Would have cost just about Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) -- but sadly, GMI is interested in selling you only the Beat for the time being.

Prospective buyer?
This is a totally cool car -- and only totally cool characters need to apply. Hrithik Roshan and John Abraham can live with all that muscle (of the car, that is).


Image: Chevrolet Camaro SS

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