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It's all show and all go

By BS Motoring Desk in New Delhi
January 17, 2004 11:32 IST
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They may bring only econoboxes and family sedans to India, but when it's showtime, manufacturers roll out their latest, fastest machinery for all to see.

Look, but don't touch! And first in the line of such drive-me-not exotics is the Formula Hayabusa single-seater racing car, at Maruti Suzuki's stall.

Powered by the Suzuki Hayabusa's (one of the fastest superbikes that exist in the world, and also present at Maruti's stand in the Expo) 1300cc engine, the Formula Hayabusa packs 173 horsepower, features a sequential six-speed gearbox and weighs a scant 430 kilos.

Ferrari-spec performance for Joe Average? Yes, but only if you have access to a private racing track. If not, move on to Skoda's pavilion, where the Czech company is showing their WRC Octavia.

Fitted with a turbocharged 2000cc engine that produces 287 horsepower, this car, with its world rally championship-bred suspension, has the potential to leave you petrified as it rockets from one corner to the next. Then of course, you also need to have Colin McRae's driving abilities.

More action? Look at the bikes then. There is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at the Bajaj stand. Ninja motorcycles have always represented the ultimate in extreme performance and the new ZX-10R, with its 180 horsepower and 280kph top speed, is no different. Yamaha have the all-conquering R1 at their stand.

The R1, fitted with a 1000cc inline-four like the ZX-10R, has a similar top speed and razor-sharp handling to go with it. Suzuki, in addition to their Hayabusa and GSX-R 750 missiles, are also showing the brutally impressive B King concept bike, which is fitted with a 1300cc inline-four.

But, if you prefer pasta to sushi, there's the Aprilia RSV 1000 R, at the Hero Motors stand. This Italian bike is powered by a 1000cc V-twin (like its Italian stablemate, the Ducati 999), is gorgeous to look at (perhaps even more so than the R1 and the Ninja) and goes like blazes.

How fast? Aprilia aren't saying, but we suppose it could easily win a Superbike world championship or two. Yes, it really is that good. And the best part is, Hero/Aprilia expect to set up Aprilia Lifestyle superstores in the four metros in the next few months, so enthusiasts with Rs 600,000 to spare, can actually buy these things!

Those who have a taste for the offbeat, are also being taken care of. There's the home-bred Chinkara, which is essentially a Caterham-style roadster. Fitted with an 1800cc, fuel-injected engine that makes 88 horsepower, the lightweight Chinkara flies from 0 to 100 kph in only 7.6 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 187 kph. Price? Rs 672,000.

If horsepower and speed are your thing, do visit the Auto Expo. We promise, you won't be disappointed.

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BS Motoring Desk in New Delhi