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Issue 104 Mar 2010 Oman’s Best Automotive Resource OMR 0.500 AED 5.00 QR 5.


Turf Challenge New Nissan Patrol –

out to grab the top SUV
spot through power
and performance

Geneva Motorshow brings back the

glory days with launches and concepts
Full report inside!

Hyundai’s twins
New Sonata and Tucson driven in Oman

Face to face with Mohan Menon

The man behind Bridgestone’s success in Oman
reveals all! Visit us online at www.automanweb.com
Mohammad Al Taie


PO Box: 343, Postal Code 118
Al Harthy Complex
A month of big names
Sultanate of Oman

Email: automan@alroya.net For all our charms as a scenic destination for charter tourists and travellers,
Website: www.automanweb.com Oman has rarely been able to claim the same for big business names. In recent
Editorial office: years however, the trend seems to be changing as more and more international
Tel: +968 24479888 Extn 300, Fax: +968 24479889 conglomerates and business powerhouses set up a presence in Oman instead
Circulation office: of relying on their regional offices elsewhere in the GCC or Singapore to cover
Tel: +968 2456 2138, Fax: +968 2456 2194
the bases for them.

On the automotive front, we don’t usually see too many heads of car
publisher manufacturing firms land on our shores. But the past month has been an
Hatim Al Taie hatim@alroya.net inordinately busy one, with visits by the heads of Nissan, KIA and Hyundai
being part of the agenda. A few months back, we caught up with Mitubishi’s
Raj Warrior raj@alroya.net President in Dubai and by all indications, we will be having other big names in
town in the near future.
Pratibha N Kadam pratibha@alroya.net
What does that portend for the car business here? Is it recognition of the
HEAD OF marketing growing importance of the steady business being generated from this oasis of
Abhyudit Greene abhyudit@alroya.net calm and prosperity? Or do we take it as a show of support for the corporate
marketing image of the importers, which is of such consequence to the marketplace here?
Nikhil Nigam nikhil@alroya.net
Supreme Philips philips@alroya.net In any case it does add a bit of gloss to a rather humdrum year.
books@alroya.net What should perhaps get a bit more noticed are the vehicles – the Nissan
Patrol was designed for, and premiered in the region (in Abu Dhabi) and a
Abraham Daniel daniel@alroya.net significant international media launch event was centered around the new
Sonata and Tucson a week before the Patrol saw a similar event in Oman. Now
Printer that is a statement in favour of the beauty and variety that Oman provides as
Ruwi Modern Printers LLC
Tel: +968 2479 4167, 2479 8157 well as an opportunity for media from around the world to enjoy great cars and
Fax: +968 2470 0545 the exhilirating vistas that the mountain ranges around Muscat provide.

© 2010 In these times of gloom in world markets, we need more decision-makers and
All editorial content of Automan in the magazine and its influencers visiting the Sultanate so that they get a friendlier, more involved
website is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any experience to take home with them.
form without the written consent of the management of

Automan accepts unsolicited exclusive editorial material,

but reserves the right to publish any such material. Once
published, the copyright for any such material will vest
in this issue

12 k Cover Story
Nissan’s new Patrol brings
36 k Road Test
Honda Accord Coupe taken
back competition through a weekend run
20 k Industry 50 k Launch
Of the new Hyundai
A look at the elaborate
paint processes Bentley Tuscon and Sonata
has in place for Mulsanne Special
30 k Road Test 42 k MOTORSHOW
We test the VW GTI The full report from the
exclusively in Dubai Geneva motorshow


gerMan gP 104 | Mar 2010

Benz W196, 1955
io in the Mercedes
Juan Manuel Fang

4 k NEWS
All the news you can use
from around the world

20 k Accessorise
About the N900, Booklet
and a Rolex

26 k Interview
We meet Mohan Menon,
Towell Auto Centre’s GM
MOTORSPORTS for its TBA operations

58 k F1 Report
The race report from
72 k Chicane
Of airbags, brakes, gas
season start at Bahrain pedals and recalls...

Hyundai invites region’s media to “Drive in Style”

94 journalists from 15 nations take to the road for the Sonata –
Tucson / ix35 Test Drive in Oman

yundai, Korea’s leading automaker to appeal to drivers of all generations, after not equipped with a dipstick, as it is filled with
whose motor vehicles are sold in 193 receiving great reviews from the auto industry an automatic transmission fluid that is good
countries around the world, recently for both vehicle’s improved spaciousness for the life of the vehicle, thereby reducing
hosted a 3-day “Drive in Style” media and comfort features, advanced technology maintenance costs.
conference – an opportunity to road test its and fuel economy innovations, and, most
new 2010 Tucson and Sonata models on the especially, their new ‘fluidic sculpture’ design The new Sonata is being marketed as “an
highways and off-road terrain of Oman – at language. exceptional driving experience” matched with
the Al Bustan Intercontinental Hotel & Resort Beginning under codenames YF (Sonata) “state-of-the-art technology”. The new 4WD
in Muscat. and LM (Tucson) projects, Hyundai designers Tucson ix35 has been dubbed by the industry
During the event, Hyundai put 94 journalists set to work about three and a half years ago as a “green machine with few compromises”
from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Eastern on developing ‘Fluidic Sculpture’, an entirely and is the first Hyundai CUV (Crossover Utility
Europe behind the wheel of the updated new design direction for the Hyundai brand. Vehicle) to be designed and engineered in
2010 Sonata, to experience its improved The project took 4 years and US$ 372 million Europe at Hyundai’s Frankfurt-based design
handling and comfort features on a 112 km to go from concept to customer. and technical centres.
highway drive, and the completely revamped Both the new Tucson and Sonata come with Both vehicles feature precedent-setting
2010 Tucson 4x4, to experience its new look light-weight Theta II engines, which put out engineering with fuel economy savings that
and feel on an 88km off-road drive along a more power and torque than previous models completely outstrip all competitors in their
mountain wadi trail. while reducing CO2 emissions. Hyundai is also class, new ‘SHIFTRONIC’ manual shifting
The Hyundai Sonata has been the part of an elite class of auto manufacturers options, high-mounted stop lamps, amplitude
perennially best-selling, mid-sized sedan in who have designed their own proprietary, six- selective dampers, an optional Electronic
Korea since the first generation model was speed, automatic transmissions for transverse Stability Program (ESP) including Hill-start
launched in 1985, and the Hyundai Tucson engine applications in passenger cars and Assist Control and Brake Assist System
is one of the most popular crossover utility SUVs. function (industry firsts), and optional heated
vehicles (CUV) in the world. Hyundai says this unique, compact rear seats, panoramic sunroofs, hands-free
Though both vehicles have a completely new transmission is lighter than any other on the Bluetooth phone systems and touch-screen
look and feel, they will be launched under the market, which aids in fuel efficiency while navigation.
same brand names. Hyundai expects the new increasing performance output. Furthermore,
look and feel of the 2010 Tucson and Sonata the unit is maintenance-free: the gearbox is


Worldwide head of Nissan in Muscat for SUV premiere

C arlos Ghosn, President & CEO of Nissan

Motor Company was on a visit to Oman as
the guest of Sheikh Suhail Bahwan to unveil
the latest generation of Nissan’s champion
SUV - the Patrol.
His visit to Muscat highlights the importance
that Oman and the greater GCC region play as
markets for the segment leading Patrol which
is now in its seventh-generation and sees
many firsts with this launch including the first
global premiere in the region by any Japanese
automaker, when the Patrol was revealed at
Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel on the 13th
of this month.
“The new Patrol is built with the high
level of safety, performance and quality that
characterises the Nissan brand, and we paid
special attention to the needs of GCC drivers
and passengers,” said Carlos Ghosn, on the
occasion in the UAE. “We are confident that
our flagship SUV for the Middle East will
exceed all expectations”, he added. The patrol
has undergone more than 13,000 hours of
testing in Arabian deserts and will be available
for sale in the GCC from April of this year.


the Middle East design direction, significantly enhanced
that dates back interior comfort and luxury, powerful new V8
to the 1950’s. engines, a 7-speed automatic transmission
It is no small and a new 4WD system.
statement to say “The new Patrol is built with the high
that for many level of safety, performance and quality that
owners across characterises the Nissan brand, and we paid
the Middle East, special attention to the needs of GCC drivers
the Patrol is and passengers,” said Carlos Ghosn, President
‘The Hero Come & CEO of Nissan. “We are confident that our
Home’. It’s the flagship SUV for the Middle East will exceed
vehicle that all expectations”, he added.
they grew up Nissan is a leading automotive brand in the
with; the Patrol Middle East. It boasts one of the most popular
has been the and successful vehicle line-ups in the region.
region’s premier Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. became the first Japanese
and trusted car manufacturer to establish a regional Middle
large SUV, East HQ in June 1994. Nissan operations cover
becoming an over 20 countries across the region making

N issan Patrol is a name synonymous

with ruggedness; a legendary off-
roader capable of going anywhere, anytime.
inseparable part of the social and cultural
fabric of Arabia.
The Patrol now returns as an all-new
it one of the largest representations in the
Middle East amongst Japanese automotive
brands. Nissan reported its best ever Middle
Meticulously honed for over five decades, the seventh generation model, building on its East regional sales results for the financial year
Patrol is Nissan’s flagship SUV model and enjoys impressive history, but at the same time, 2008 with the company and its distributors
a rich heritage and passionate following in incorporating a new platform, a radical new achieving over 200,000 sales.


Renault welcomes new GCC Managing Director

sales with an enhanced market presence,
improving services and communicating
Renault brand values through regional events
and marketing initiatives.
Lakdawala added: “Renault has made
huge strides since it reinforced its regional
operations in 2007. My key objective will be
to continue this growth further and establish
Renault as a leading automotive player
across the region offering customers service
excellence and a product that stands for top
quality, reliability and great value for money.”
Prior to his new position as Managing
Director of Renault GCC, Lakdawala was
actively involved with the Nissan and Infiniti
brands in the Middle East holding various
senior level positions.
Headquartered in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free
Zone, Renault’s GCC office has a strong team
of highly experienced industry professionals
to support local and regional initiatives and
increase Renault’s profile in the region.
Renault GCC recently announced the

F rench car manufacturer Renault has

appointed Mustansir Lakdawala as its
new Managing Director for the GCC and Iraq
over 15 years. His new position will see him
taking overall responsibility of Renault’s GCC
operations including the expansion of its
extension of its commercial vehicle line up
with the launch of the Logan Van and Logan
Pick Up models. Other new Renault cars due
region. distributor network and showrooms efficiency. to arrive this year include the much awaited
Lakdawala brings extensive experience Lakdawala will also be actively involved in Fluence, Sandero and Megane hatchback
working in the automotive business for selecting new line-ups for the region, boosting models.

BMW Group Middle East Launches its ‘Stay Alert.Stay Alive.’ Road Safety Initiative

B MW Group Middle East, supported by the

Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD),
the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai
will be multi-faceted and will focus
on many attitudinal road safety issues
including seat belts and child restraints,
(RTA), Abu Dhabi Municipality and Dubai speeding, fatigue, driver distraction
Municipality, has launched its ‘Stay Alert. Stay (such as mobile phones) and reckless
Alive.’ road safety initiative in a bid to raise driving. The integrated campaign will
awareness of the importance of various road use PR, advertising (print and radio)
safety issues. and marketing tactics. Awareness Days
Following an independent survey of BMW in local parks and at BMW importer
and MINI customers to help identify what showrooms will be used to give away
prompts drivers in the GCC region to take 10,000 child safety booster cushions
risks in their vehicles, BMW Group Middle across the region and to demonstrate
East has identified the use of seat-belts, and the correct use of child safety seats in
in particular, appropriate child restraints, as vehicles. “BMW Group Middle East believes that
the theme of its first campaign under the Speaking at a press conference to launch everyone should be fully aware of how best to
initiative that is aimed at increasing road the campaign, Phil Horton, Managing Director protect themselves and their children against
safety awareness across the board. of BMW Group Middle East, says: “As part of the dangers posed by driving. We all have a
BMW Group Middle East is initially launching our commitment to help improve road safety role to play – the government, automotive
the ‘Stay Alert. Stay Alive.’ campaign in the in the region, we are launching an initiative companies, and the general public. a doubt,
UAE with the aim to then implement the to help drivers understand about safe driving the simplest way for drivers and passengers
campaign across the GCC. Working closely habits and particularly, occupant safety and to protect themselves is to buckle-up every
with BMW Group importers, the campaign restraint systems. time.”

Consumer interest in McLaren OUTGOING CHIEF EXECUTIVE
MP4-12C strong

F or the new McLaren MP4-12C the plan is to

make only 1,000 of them and keep them
rare and precious. But there are already over
Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
The search for retail partners has been
moving quickly across the Middle East, a region
1,600 prospective buyers who have signed of particular importance for the company.
official letters of purchase intent. So far, around 30 applications have been
It was announced last September that received for regional dealership franchises,
McLaren would go on to make its own
successor to the old McLaren SLR after ending
its partnership on that model with Mercedes-
and the selection process has reached the
shortlist stage. Moreover, the UAE and Saudi
Arabia, the two countries in the region that
R epresentatives from Rolls-Royce
dealerships in the Middle East region
convened near Laguna Beach, California, to
Benz. Now, it is closer to debuting its own are expected to account for the bulk of the discuss business development for the next
rival to the Mercedes SLS and McLaren claims sales, are now at letter-of-intent stage, with decade and bid farewell to the outgoing CEO.
sales projections are good. an announcement set to be made shortly. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, Tom Purves,
The MP4-12C will switch production next “We have been making significant progress who will retire at the end of the month,
year (2011) to a new manufacturing facility in finding the right representatives to market commended Middle East dealerships for
located right next to McLaren’s new F1 base the MP4-12C, the first in our range of high their contribution to furthering the brand’s
in Woking, Surrey in the UK. Both facilities performance sports cars,” said Ian Gorsuch, presence in the region. Tom Purves started
were designed by Foster and Partners and McLaren Automotive’s regional director for his career in 1967 as an apprentice engineer
cost £40 million (€45 million) to build. The the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. “The at Rolls-Royce, in the 1970s he was the area
first MP4-12C models, though, will be built on Middle East is not only important because it manager for Rolls-Royce in the Middle East,
the old SLR production line inside the current will account for up to 20 per cent of overall based in Kuwait.
McLaren Technology Center. sales, but because it is also full of highly- General Managers and Brand Managers
Meanwhile, McLaren Automotive plans educated car enthusiasts who will appreciate from the eight dealerships across six
to initially sell the 12C across 19 countries. the excellence of the MP4-12C.” countries attended the meeting which was
It is expected that its retail partners in the Deliveries will begin in the spring of 2011 led by the Director of Sales and Marketing
Middle East will account for between 10 and and the car will be sold through 35 selected for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Jolyon Nash, and
20 per cent of the overall sales volume. The dealerships in 19 countries. The MP4-12C Peter Schoppmann, Regional Director for the
company will be represented throughout the will cost somewhere between £125,000 Middle East. California also played host to
region through a retail network in Bahrain, (€140,000) and £175,000 (€195,000). the first dealer drive event for the marque’s
highly- anticipated new model the Ghost,
which begun delivery to customers in the Gulf
region end of December. 2010 is set to be a
year of significant growth and expansion for
Rolls-Royce in the region with each dealership
scheduled to launch a new or extended
showroom in the coming months.
Tom Purves said, “It has been extremely
rewarding for me to witness Rolls-Royce go
from strength to strength in the Middle East.
Our dealerships in the region have been
outstanding representatives of the world’s
pinnacle automotive brand and with the
launch of new or extended facilities this year
are set to further build on their success.”
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars recently confirmed
strong sales in the region with four Middle
East dealers amongst the global top ten
dealerships. The two dealerships with the
richest Bespoke specifications worldwide in
2009 were also from the region underpinning
the Middle East’s appetite for individuality and
exclusivity in the luxury segment.

Ford launches new Taurus in Abu Dhabi for region

T he new hi-tech 2010 Ford Taurus created

a revolution in the full-size category earlier
this year when it debuted on the Middle East
“There are far too many claims of ‘a
revolution’ in motoring,” said Hussein Murad,
director of sales, Ford Middle East. “But when
uses a radar sensor to detect moving vehicles
ahead and provides a visual “heads-up”
warning signal and an audible warning when
motoring scene, giving a tantalizing glimpse you look at the advances that have been slower-moving traffic is detected ahead.
into the motoring features of the future. And made in the Taurus, you have to take a step The Taurus has been named as the Ford
the only way is up for Ford’s flagship model back. These incredible features are normally safety flagship and has earned top five-star
as it sets the trend for what consumers something that could only ever have come crash ratings from the National Highway Traffic
can expect from the Ford brand in the near with a luxury car and a luxury price tag. Safety Administration (NHTSA) and “Top Safety
future. Taurus is a smart car in every sense. It is Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway
The highly acclaimed new Taurus has very much a case of innovation catering to Safety (IIHS). Ford Motor Company has more
already been dubbed America’s most the customer’s needs rather than adding IIHS “Top Safety Picks” and NHTSA five-star
innovative sedan, winning Edmunds. gimmicks.” ratings than any other automaker.
com’s Technology Breakthrough Award and In addition to the innovative Ford Murad believes that safety should always
appearing as the official vehicle of the 2010 SYNC® that provides voice-activated walk hand in hand with motoring technology.
International Consumer Electronics Show and telecommunications and entertainment “What Ford has achieved with the new
last year’s GITEX in Dubai. Techies, safety connectivity, the Taurus also offers Adaptive 2010 Taurus is a unique experience coupled
experts, drivers and critics have all put the Cruise Control and Collision Warning with with unprecedented protection. The safety
Taurus in a class of its own. Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System technologies that are available in the Taurus
The new Taurus was also named among (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert, cooled Multi- are barely available in vehicles twice its price.
the “Top 10 Family Cars for 2010,” according Contour Seats with Active Motion™, and a It is a fantastic achievement and great news
to the editors of Kelley Blue Book’s (kbb.com), second generation SecuriCode™ Keyless for drivers, owners and passengers.”
who also recently awarded the new model Entry Keypad. The new Taurus also features some of the
the “Best Resale Value” accolade in the full- The new Taurus features crash-avoidance industry’s first side air bags that use pressure
size car category, because it offered a great technologies, such as a segment-first, radar- pulses from a side impact to deploy up to 30
combination of value, technology and style all based forward collision warning system that percent faster than traditional air bags with
wrapped up into a very good price. helps drivers avoid accidents. The system acceleration-based sensors.

John Stadwick New President and Managing Director of GM
Middle East Operations
the position of Vice President - Aftersales, for the right plan, the right people and a strong
GM International Operations (GMIO) since will to achieve the goals set for our business
September, 2009. Starting his career with GM in 2010. GM Middle East is very lucky to
in 1984 as a district manager in training with be having John as the new President and
GM’s Oldsmobile division in Lansing, Michigan, Managing Director. I’ve known him for a long
Stadwick worked his way up through various time and he is an accomplished, experienced
positions in the US. executive who will make a positive impact on
John’s international experience began with General Motors in this important region.”
his appointment to Director of GM Service and John Stadwick is looking forward to his
Parts Operations for Mexico, Central America new role. “I am very excited to be moving to
and the Caribbean in January 2004. His the Middle East at this time. After the global
first foray into the Middle East market came slowdown in the past year and a half, we are
with his appointment as Regional Director of expecting the regional automotive market
Aftersales for GM Latin America, Africa and to pick up again, and I look forward to the
the Middle East (LAAM), a position he held challenge of leading GM in the Middle East
from July 2006 till May 2008. and ensuring we are in the best position to
John will be replacing Mike, who has take advantage of this market recovery.”
been with GM for more than 25 years, and Mike Devereux has become the new head

G eneral Motors in the Middle East

announced today the appointment of
John N. Stadwick to the position of President
led GM’s Middle East’s operations during a
challenging end to 2008 and throughout 2009
implementing changes to the organization’s
of Holden in Australia and New Zealand. Mr
Devereux’s position is effective immediately
and comes three weeks after GM Holden
and Managing Director of GM Middle East structure and introducing further key processes announced that former chairman and
Operations. John replaces Mike Devereux, to improve customer service. Mike also managing director Alan Batey had been hired
who will take up the position of Chairman oversaw the launches of key vehicles including as Chevrolet’s US vice-president of sales and
and Managing Director of GM Holden Ltd. He the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu and Camaro as service.
will be based at GM Holden’s headquarters in well as the Cadillac CTS-V and SRX. Mr Batey followed his predecessor, Mark
Melbourne, Australia. The change is effective On GM Middle East’s immediate future, Reuss, to GM headquarters in the US after
immediately. Mike said “General Motors Middle East has eight months at the helm of Holden. Mr Reuss
John arrives from Shanghai, where he held weathered the storm admirably and now has is now president of GM North America.
Combining an engineering background with
General Motors Announces New Middle East Brand extensive sales and marketing experience,
Manager, Cadillac particularly in e-Business, Mr Devereux, 44,

G eneral Motors (GM) has announced the

appointment of Thierry Sabbagh to the
position of Regional Brand Manager, Cadillac,
Manager in February 2008, and defined
business development opportunities for Middle
East operations and developed business cases
GM Middle East. for future products.
“Thierry has delivered results exceeding “Thierry’s experience will be vital in building
expectations in each of his roles at GM, and Cadillac brand business and growing its
I welcome him on board in his new position,” volume” said Fadi.
said Fadi Ghosn, GM Middle East Chief
Marketing Officer.
Thierry came to GM with a strong
background in sales and marketing, having
gained several years’ experience as the Group
Marketing Manager for Gargash Enterprises,
representing Mercedes Benz in Dubai and the
Northern Emirates.
Starting off in GM as a Marketing Manager
for GMC in the Middle East in January 2006,
Thierry actively participated in achieving all-
time best GMC sales in 2007 and flawlessly has relocated from Dubai to Melbourne and
executed several launches. Thierry became will report to GM’s international operations
the SUV and Compact Vehicles Planning president Tim Lee.


Stunning new G37 Convertible
MASERATI GRANCABRIO with automatic folding metal roof
launches across the Middle East

F resh from his debut win for Scuderia Ferrari

in the season-opening Bahrain Grand
Prix, former two-times Formula One World
Champion Fernando Alonso has “unveiled”
at Ferrari’s private test track, Fiorano, the
Maserati GranCabrio that he has selected.
The Spanish driver has chosen for the
GranCabrio elegant fixtures, preferring a
darker shade for the exterior in combination
with two-tone upholstery for the interior.
Grigio Granito is the colour of the body, while
the interior has a combination of Pearl Beige
and Bordeaux leather, matching a soft top of
I nfiniti, the luxury automotive brand from
Japan, revealed its ninth model for the
Middle East market at a sophisticated launch
and features. It will appeal to a discerning
audience who appreciate the better things in
life” Barthes concluded.
the same shade. event held at The Palladium, Dubai Media The G37 Convertible comes equipped with
The GranCabrio represents the synthesis of City, United Arab Emirates. a standard 3.7-liter VQ-series V6 with VVEL
Maseratis in terms of top down models. It is The all-new 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible (for Variable Valve Event and Lift) rated at
a Maserati in the purest sense of the term: has been designed from the outset with 328 horsepower. The engine is backed by a
from the unmistakable style of Pininfarina one goal in mind: to excite the senses. The standard electronically controlled 7-speed
to the craftsmanship of every detail, from stunning silhouette is perfectly proportioned, automatic transmission with magnesium
the pleasure of driving to top performance - looking just as beautiful with the three-piece paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching
assured by a V8 engine of 4.7 liters and 440 folding hard-top roof up or down, while the technology which delivers fast, smooth and
hp with a 6-speed automatic transmission. performance promised by the potent 3.7-litre satisfying downshifts for the enthusiastic
Fernando Alonso was particularly impressed by V6 engine is guaranteed to delight. driver.
the space offered by the GranCabrio, perfect “With looks like this, we think the new G37 The G37 Convertible maintains a coupe-
for four adult passengers. The GranCabrio is Convertible is sure to attract the right kind like silhouette with the top up through use
in fact the first four-seat convertible in the of attention” said Antoine Barthes, General of a special three-piece ‘clamshell’ retractable
history of Maserati. Manager of Infiniti Business Unit Middle hardtop, which allows for both a stylish shorter
To emphasize the link with the Maserati East. “The G37 convertible is a rare kind of rear overhang and a low trunk lid. Compared
tradition, the roof of the GranCabrio is strictly car because it’s an open four-seater with a to G37 Coupe, the G37 Convertible utilizes all-
canvas. Available in six colours, perfectly retractable hardtop but its styling hasn’t been new body panels from the A-pillar back, along
integrated into the design of the car, it folds compromised by an awkwardly elongated with a 1.1-inch wider overall width, wider rear
up in only 20 seconds (28 seconds including trunk. We have taken the conscious decision track and modified rear suspension.
the movement of the four independent to sacrifice a little practicality in exchange for Along with its stunning G37 Coupe-like
windows). a great deal of style” he said. proportions, the G37 Convertible offers
Having made its world debut on the “We think this first convertible model signature Infiniti styling cues such as flowing
occasion of the 63rd Frankfurt IAA last autumn from Infiniti is a perfect example of ‘Inspired front fender curves, a wave-style aluminum
the Maserati GranCabrio is being marketed Performance’, a theme that runs through hood, expressive front fascia with double-arch
throughout Europe starting in this month of the entire Infiniti range. It offers a unique grille and L-shaped High-Intensity Discharge
March. combination of seductive style with genuinely (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights with
thrilling performance and unrivalled luxury integrated fog lamps.

In other news
GM considering life remains slight, but it Geely Holding Group. donate US$200,000 to financial press conference
two Hummer bids? remains possible the off- Geely expects to wrap up assist the international in Munich last week,
road brand could live to talks on buying Ford Motor communities’ humanitarian the news represents the
see another day. Co.’s Volvo car unit by the relief efforts in earthquake- third broken promise by
end of this month, for the stricken Chile. The
Daimler charged Chinese automaker said donation will be made to
in US for paying Tuesday. “I cannot tell the government of Chile
bribes the exact date, but so far and relief organizations,
The US Justice Department everything goes smoothly, through Hyundai’s regional
and the Securities and and I think the contract office in Chile.
Exchange Commission will be signed in March,” In addition to the relief
(SEC) will fine Daimler said Ren Daqing, for Geely aid, Hyundai will conduct the Bavarian brand in
General Motors officially $185 million dollars in Beijing. Ford, which a special service campaign recent years, after vowing
announced the cancellation (€137,706,250) for paying purchased the Swedish car in cooperation with that it would not build
of the sale of its Hummer bribes. Hyundai Mobis to repair a V8-powered M3 or
brand to China’s Sichuan The fine follows a six cars damaged by the turbocharged M models.
Tengzhong Heavy year investigation, which earthquake and offer parts
Industrial Machinery Co. was prompted by an at discounted prices. Qatar and
on Wednesday, but reports auditor’s complaint that Hyundai Motor has been Volkswagen agree
surfaced on Thursday he was fired for protesting lending a helping hand to to intensify
indicating Hummer secret bank accounts used people in disaster-stricken cooperation
could live on under new to pay foreign officials. areas in the form of monetary The Emirate of Qatar,
ownership. Investigators discovered donations, distribution of the Volkswagen Group,
Despite GM’s Mercedes gave an armored emergency supplies, or Porsche Automobil Holding
announcement that it car to a Turkmenistan direct participation in relief SE and the State of Lower
would wind down the official, on his birthday, activities, as part of its Saxony wish to strengthen
Hummer brand, the iconic while the company was efforts to fulfil its duties as their cooperation,
off-road brand continues negotiating a contract a global corporate citizen. particularly in the fields of
to cling to life. Two suitors to sell vehicles to the Hyundai provided support research, development and
are reportedly interested Turkmenistan government. in the aftermath of Iran’s education.
in acquiring the Hummer Daimler also paid 10 maker in 1999 for $6.45 earthquake in 1999, the This was agreed on
brand from General percent kickbacks to Iraqi million, has said it expects 2004 tsunami disaster the occasion of a visit to
Motors. officials, to secure deals to the deal to be finished by in Asia, the 2007 Greek Qatar, when the Crown
As was the case with sell vehicles - a violation of the end of the first quarter. forest fires, and the 2008 Prince and Personal
Saab, a new bidder could the United Nations’ Oil for The Dearborn, Michigan earthquake in Sichuan Representative of the
intervene in the eleventh Food Program. automaker has been as well as the recent Emir, His Highness
hour to save the Hummer The report concluded trying to sell Volvo since earthquake in Haiti, to Sheik Tamim bin Hamad
brand. GM announced it Daimler engaged “in a late 2008 to focus its name a few. bin Khalifa Al Thani,
would shutter its Saab long-standing practice of resources on managing received a delegation of
division following the failed paying bribes” to secure its core Ford, Lincoln BMW officially representatives from the
sale to Koenigsegg, but deals in Russia, China, and Mercury brands. confirms plan to Supervisory Board and
Spyker Cars N.V. purchased Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq One key hurdle for the build a front-drive Board of Management
the ailing Swedish brand in and 16 other countries. As sale has been organizing model using Mini as of Volkswagen AG and
a last ditched effort. a result, the company will financing and government basis Porsche Automobil Holding
The identities of the be charged with conspiracy approvals, Ford has After years of singing the SE and from the State
two suitors have yet to and falsifying records said. The two sides have virtues of its exclusively of Lower Saxony. The
be revealed, but one is under the Foreign and been negotiating details rear-wheel drive cars, BMW delegation included Prof.
believed to be a U.S.-based Corrupt Practices Act. for sharing technology, has confirmed speculation Dr. Ferdinand K. Piëch, Dr.
equity firm. The second is engineering and parts. it will produce a front-drive Wolfgang Porsche, Prof.
thought to be foreign firm, In troubled BMW model, based on Dr. Martin Winterkorn
although a China-based waters? Geely Hyundai Motor the third generation Mini and Prime Minister
business is unlikely given Volvo deal Makes Donation platform. Christian Wulff, and was
Tengzhong’s failure to Not exactly, if one goes to Support Quake- Revealed by BMW accompanied by the
complete the deal. by a statement made by Stricken Chile chairman Norbert Reithofer German Ambassador Dr.
Hummer’s chance at a spokesman of Zhejiang Hyundai Motor Co. will at the company’s annual Dirk Baumgartner.

{Cover Story}

{Cover Story}

Offering Real
Once again
With a completely new platform and a new focus on the
region, the seventh gen Patrol is here to compete with the
Land Cruiser

t isn’t often that we get invited to a global The existing Patrol is not a half bad vehicle
premiere media launch in Oman and when even if you want to compare it with the Land
Nissan Middle East called us up to do the Cruiser. It has the power and the ability to do
scheduling for the new Patrol, we had our just that bit of the previous argument that we
doubts about the extent to which an event highlighted. It can get you anywhere, though
in Oman would be big news. First surprise in many ways it is lacking the refinement and
was when we heard of the presence of Carlos finesse of a modern day top-of-the-line SUV.
Ghosn in town – here as a guest of Sheikh Now entering its seventh generation, the
Suhail Bahwan, he was here in the region Patrol is back, building on its impressive
and Oman for one reason. To communicate heritage, but at the same time, offering a
the seriousness with which Nissan takes the radical new design direction. “We paid special
launch of the new edition of the flagship SUV attention to the needs of our owner drivers
Patrol and its relevance for the region. and their passengers, and so focused on
In these times of global recession and the creating first-class levels of comfort for the
money-pinching that results in, the market in whole family. Heightened luxury, a roomier
the middle east region is still quite benevolent cabin and a quieter ride combine to achieve
to big gas-guzzlers. Of course the nouveau this goal, while maintaining Patrol’s off-road
riche of the BRIC countries are also able to heritage,” stresses Hiroyuki Fushiki, project
afford the cars involved but usually tend to head and Segment Chief Product Specialist.
temper their purchases with the underlying The engineering team was fully aware that
realisation that fuel prices will go up. while the Patrol commanded the title of ‘King
Not so in the region, where abundant of All Terrain’ in terms of its off-road capability,
availability and government diktats keep prices the Nissan 4WD did not maintain the lion’s
low and the temptation to buy a 5.6-litre V8 share of the market. They knew that their
powered four-wheel drive overwhelms all new Patrol would have to not only outclass its
your inhibitions. You need it because it can competitors on every front, it would have to
go anywhere, even in the desert, you tell lift the bar farther than any previous hardcore
yourself not asking when was the last time SUV.
you actually went into the dunes. “Our mission was to create a Patrol that
There in lies not just the appeal of the new was not one generation, but two generations
Patrol, but the entire process that dictated its ahead of the competition, and that’s what
change. we’ve achieved,” explains Fushiki. Under the

{Cover Story}

banner of ‘Hero Comes Home,’ designers now be ‘looking down’ on all competitors. Boasting double the lateral rigidity over
started by penning a new, more stylish The new, softer, more sophisticated the outgoing model, the new Patrol sits on
exterior and a roomier, more luxurious exterior design is now as much at home in a revised platform that now offers a more
interior, while engineers developed a rugged rugged terrain as it is taking a family to a local robust construction with a low vibration
new platform. To that superb package they restaurant or escorting your partner to a night body. A special ring frame structure has been
fitted the segment’s most powerful V8 engine out at a 7-star hotel. “We want customers to employed around the tailgate to improve
and new 7-speed automatic transmission, a realize that this fresh, stylish exterior can be body stiffness while other upgrades include
combination that boasts class-leading fuel relied upon to answer any demand made reinforcing stiffness of the cabin mounting
economy. The engineering team also added of it, anywhere, anytime. It’s styling might points, and the connecting sections between
a comprehensive new 4WD and advanced seem more abstract to some, but it is still each pillar and sill. Cross members have
safety systems, while managing to create unmistakably all Patrol,” reinforces Toyota. also been strengthened. Also the side rail
several world-first technologies including a Featuring generous amounts of leather, section area has been expanded and the end
class-topping climate control unit and a multi- polished aluminium and wood grain paneling, cross member has been integrated with the
screen, multi-functional DVD entertainment the Patrol’s interior too has been significantly frame. This enables the new Patrol to absorb
system. upgraded. With a specific design direction noise, vibration and harshness better than its
Development of the new Patrol officially from Fushiki, the design team created a better, predecessor and makes its body more rigid.
kicked off in 2006. But according to chief vehicle higher quality interior for the whole family. The all-new platform has been built to
engineer, Takashi Fukui, testing of the proposed In keeping with the Patrol’s mission to take on the rugged terrain of the Middle East
new platform, engine, transmission and 4WD be best-in-class, and the roomiest, the new while at the same time, offering comfortable,
system began two years earlier in 2004. Nissan off-roader delivers seat dimensions luxurious city cruising.
Wanting to build the best possible that outclass all competition. Boasting wider, In keeping with its title of ‘King of Off-
Patrol, engineers first tuned and tested 200 higher and deeper front seats, higher and roaders,’ Nissan engineers added one
prototypes for dynamic evaluations at the deeper second row seats and a roomier third more phrase to capture its potential - King
Motegi, Oppama and Tochigi proving grounds. row of seats, the Nissan offers more space of Acceleration. And the key technology
“Once we were satisfied with performance, and comfort than ever before. achieving this jump in performance over the
we took the cars to the Middle East where The Patrol’s second row of seats now has predecessor’s 4.8 litre power plant is the
we exposed them to every imaginable over 100mm more legroom than its nearest newly developed VK56VD 5.6-litre V8 engine
challenge; desert, rocky surfaces, highways competitor, making that row of seats the most with VVEL (variable valve event and lift) and
and inner-city traffic. By the time we came comfortable in the class. DIG (direct-injection gasoline) that generates
around to adding the new body and interior, Unlike its predecessor which offered third 400hp and 560Nm of torque, while maintaining
we had virtually completed our reliability and row seats that folded and could be stowed up superb fuel efficiency and a generous cruising
durability testing and perfected all of the new against the side window limiting rear luggage range.
technologies,” says Fukui. space, the new Patrol offers a third row of Every component has been redesigned
According to Taiji Toyota, Product Design seats which fold forward and fully disappear for maximum performance and smooth
Director, the new exterior styling came to into the floor of the luggage area generating response. That makes it the most powerful in
him after several fact-finding missions to the the biggest rear luggage space in its class. class, and mated to a new 7-speed automatic
Middle East. “After several trips to the region, With the 3rd row of seats completely transmission with manual shift mode, the new
my team realized that we had to take styling flattened, the width of the rear luggage area model boasts a wider range of gear ratios
in a whole new direction. The market needs increases from 934mm to an impressive than its predecessor. This setup combined
were changing and customers wanted a larger, 1240mm, which is 250mm wider than its with a new improved shift schedule enables
roomier, more luxurious, more sophisticated closest rival. Those dimensions create a the new Patrol to deliver power faster and
exterior design that still says ‘rugged Patrol.’” luggage area of 1.54 m2, a significant stronger than any rival.
One design element that expresses increase over the outgoing model’s 1.14 m2 Another important part of generating grippy
‘Patrol’ and had to feature strongly was the or the main rival’s 1.25 m2. traction comes from the new suspension
“angled-strut” motif grille. It was meticulously Another stand-out feature of the new system, which employs 4-wheel independent
proportioned to deliver a sense of continuity Patrol is its interior quietness. Ranked at the suspension, upgraded from previous rigid
with past models but give a touch of newness top of its class in terms of quietness, the axle setup. Nissan has completely redesigned
while adding to the car’s status level. secret to the Patrol’s new found ambience is the vehicle’s suspension from the bushes to
“Not as edgy and macho as before, the the laminated front windshield and front side the links.
softer new surfaces are beautiful and add a windows, which contain a specially developed Thanks to a large capacity 140 litre fuel
sense of modernity to the design equation, sound absorbing film. This new glass not tank, the SUV’s drivable range is now the
while still maintaining a commanding road only makes the interior more comfortable longest range in its class.
presence,” says Toyota. The fact that the but allows less vocal effort to converse with In a world-first for Nissan, the new Patrol
driver’s eye point is now 60mm higher than other passengers, whether in the front of rear employs a Hydraulic Body Motion Control
the closest rival means that Patrol drivers will seats. System (HBMC), which keeps the car flatter

{Cover Story}

The quality of the interiors has gone

up by leaps and bounds as is the
treatment of colours and trims.

The centre console monitor now

also serves as an off-road monitor
showing wheel direction, spin and
compass headings

{Cover Story}

with less body roll during lane-changing and In sand mode, the vehicle is especially provides the best braking performance in its
cornering, while delivering a comfortable effective. The new system enables owners class thanks to its extra gripping power made
ride in city driving and superb stability with are able to drive safely, quickly and skillfully possible by a new hydraulic brake booster,
ample suspension travel on rugged and sandy in sand and dirt, just like professional rally larger ventilated discs, and more linear and
terrain. Located over each wheel, hydraulic drivers, thanks to the Patrol’s new sand TCS. controllable pedal force. With a new 4-piston
cylinders are connected via cross piping and The second part of the new ALL MODE 4x4 opposed caliper setup at the front, disc size
two accumulators that combine to generate system offers Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent has been increased from 316mm to 358mm,
variable roll stiffness depending on the driving Control which can also be selected easily with while at the rear discs are now 350mm in
conditions. This system controls roll stiffness the touch of a button. diameter, up from 330mm. The new Patrol
by cleverly transferring oil between the upper With Hill Start Assist, if a driver stops on also boasts longer suspension stroke. It also
and lower sections of each cylinder, according a slope and steps off the brake pedal, the employs a new off-road monitor on the dash
to road conditions. system keeps the vehicle stationary – with no that provides occupants with tyre inputs in
Fitted with large diameter 20inch tyres, the roll back. This ability enables drivers to easily real time. This system makes mogul clearance
combination with HBMC allows the Patrol to switch from brake pedal to accelerator on easy.
cruise 20km/h faster on road and off-road steep inclines, and in perfect safety. The new Patrol employs a revised Tyre
than its nearest rival. With the Hill Descent Control, the system Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with tyre
Also fitted to the Patrol is a newly developed uses the brakes to maintain a constant inflation indicator. Unlike the previous system
ALL MODE 4x4 system incorporating a Variable downhill speed of 7km/h in 4H mode and which required occupants to open the door
4x4 Mode package. It allows the driver to 4km/h in 4L mode. It will also reverse downhill each time they wanted to check the internal
quickly switch between four drive modes: at a constant 4km/h in 4H and 3km/h in 4L monitor while pumping air into the tyres, the
sand, on-road, snow and rock, with the flick mode. new system just sounds the horn softly to
of a switch. A revised more effective brake system also inform drivers that a suitable tyre pressure has

{Cover Story}

been reached. In severe desert conditions, air that acts as a barrier to heat penetrating amount of high quality highway driving too
this new feature was found to be especially the cabin. Employing more powerful fans involved. We had the pleasure of having Mr
handy. and more effective vents, the Patrol’s air- Fushiki as our guest during most of the drive
Nissan designers paid special attention to conditioning system is now a class-leader. and he was forthright in his admiration of the
the second row seat passengers by not only Yet another impressive Patrol feature is speed and nonchalance with which Carlos
significantly expanding legroom, but by also the cool box mounted in the centre console Ghosn had taken the route in the previous
fitting a new multi-screen DVD entertainment between the front seats. Featuring a unique wave of invitees.
system boasting two rear-facing TVs; one double hinge design, the lid of the coolbox The Patrol exhibits all the comfort and
7-inch monitor embedded into each front can be opened easily from either the front or softening of stance that Nissan engineers
seat headrest. With the ability to allow one second row of seats to access the six 600ml have worked so hard for. It has unmatchable
rear seat passenger to watch a movie while drink bottles inside. ride comfort, with a magic carpet ride on th
the other plays a video game, this system The car itself was outlined in a briefing ehighway and a highly muted terrain feel
comes with a portable remote control device before we set out on a well-planned route as we speed over the ungraded patches.
for ease of use and is iPod compatible. from the Barr Al Jissah resort through the If anything, we found the steering to have
Fitted with an advanced airbag mountains and wadis of the Eastern Hajar been made too isolated. It does require any
configuration, employing six airbags for top range and through the coastal areas south effort at all to turn and you notice that it has
grade, the Patrol also comes with a totally of Quriyat and back to the scenic sea port of tightened up at all only when the car is doing
revised climate control system boasting Quriyat. The route has a good mix of ungraded technically illegal speeds.
another world-first – the curtain vent. Small roads, rough paths with stream crossing and The move to an independent suspension
but highly effective vents mounted in the a lot of twists and climbs and descents as one with the amazing ability of the Hydraulic
ceiling above each side window blow a strong works his or her way through the passes of Body Motion Control System to take the car
current of cool air down forming a curtain of the range. Additionally there is a significant over stones and boulders and the design

{Cover Story}

improvements that have done away with the to be sold with the new one, thus allowing
need for a stabilizer bar set the bar well and a rub-off halo effect of the new flagship on
truly for other SUVs to follow. the customers who will be buying the more
The question that really needs answering is utilitarian older generation.
whether the car has improved enough to take Nissan has decided to start building the
people’s minds off the LC’s continuing appeal. new model at the state-of-the-art Nissan
Our take on the situation is that the Nissan Shatai Kyushu plant, the new Patrol being the
team couldn’t have done more than they have first vehicle to line off there.
done on this car. The marketing teams now Employing the Nissan Production Way
have a product that stands out feature for (NPW), the new plant is a benchmark factory
feature from the rest of the herd, albeit with for cost, quality and delivery time while
the added price tag to it. And as a strategic offering the latest, high quality production
business move the old Patrol will continue systems on a multi-vehicle production line.

{Cover Story}

LED type lighting has become the norm in the newer generation of SUVs as well. The Patrol gets high-intensity lighting on
its lower beams, another major improvement

This column brings the latest, the trendiest and the must-have accessories, gadgets and toys that we
think our readers should have.

Nokia’s new mini computers

he Nokia N900 has evolved from Nokia’s previous generation support. Maemo software updates happen automatically over the
of Internet Tablets and broadens the choice for technology internet.
enthusiasts who appreciate the ability to multitask and browse Messaging on the N900 is easy and convenient thanks to the full
the internet like they would on their desktop computer. physical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Setting up email happens with
The Nokia N900 packs a powerful ARM Cortex-A8 processor, up to only a few touches and the Nokia Messaging service mobilizes up to 10
1GB of application memory and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration. personal email accounts. Text message or IM exchanges with friends
The result is PC-like multitasking, allowing many applications to run are shown in one view and all conversations are organized as separate
simultaneously. Switching between applications is simple, as all running windows.
content is constantly available through the dashboard. The panoramic The Nokia N900 has 32GB of storage, which is expandable up to
homescreen can be fully personalized with favorite shortcuts, widgets 48GB via a microSD card. For photography, the Maemo software and
and applications. the N900 come with a new tag cloud user interface that will help users
To make web browsing more enjoyable, the Nokia N900 features get the most out of the 5MP camera and Carl Zeiss optics.
a high-resolution WVGA touch screen and fast internet connectivity
with 10/2 HSPA and WLAN. Thanks to the browser powered by Mozilla Nokia Booklet 3G brings all day mobility
technology, websites look the way they would on any computer. Online Powered by the efficient Intel Atom processor, the Nokia Booklet 3G
videos and interactive applications are vivid with full Adobe Flash 9.4 delivers impressive performance with up to 12 hours of battery life,


enabling people to leave their power cable behind and still be connected
and productive. Delivering the rich experience of a full-function PC
inside an ultra-portable aluminum chassis, the new mini-laptop weighs
1.25 kilograms, measures slightly more than two centimeters thin, and
has the features one would expect from the world’s leading mobile
device manufacturer. A broad range of connectivity options - including
3G/ HSPA and Wi-Fi - gives consumers high speed access to the
Internet, including Nokia’s broad suite of Ovi services.
The mini-laptop also comes with an HDMI port for HD video out,
a front facing camera for video calling, integrated Bluetooth and an
easily accessible SD card reader. Other premium features include the
10-inch glass HD ready display and integrated A-GPS which, working
with the Ovi Maps gadget, can pinpoint your position in seconds and
open up access for a truly personal maps experience. The Nokia
Booklet 3G also brings a number of other rich Ovi experiences to life,
whether its access and playback of millions of tracks through the Nokia
Music Store, or using Ovi Suite to sync seamlessly from your Nokia
smartphone, to your mini-laptop, to the cloud.

ON LAND AND SEA he quintessential divers’ watch, the absolute reference in its
genre, the Submariner has expanded its horizons far beyond the
element of its birth in 1953, while denying nothing of its aquatic
At home in the depths of the oceans, a universe in which it remains
the basic instrument of every diver, it long ago conquered terra firma,
as the watch of action.
Waterproof to 100, 200, then 300 metres as it successively evolved
since its launch, the Submariner has always been the symbol of Rolex’s
supremacy in waterproofness.
New features
Timeless and impervious to the elements, it is today available in a
steel version sporting new features. Its 40 mm case in 904L steel,
synonymous with robustness, waterproofness and corrosion resistance,
boasts a new rotatable bezel fitted with a practically scratchproof black
Cerachrominsert — or green for themodel with the green dial — with
platinum graduations.
Penumbra and soft light
As much in its element in the penumbra of the ocean floor as in the
soft light of sophistication, this new Submariner Date offers exceptional
legibility thanks to hour markers and hands coated with luminescent
Its mechanical movement equipped with a Perpetual rotor and a
Parachrom hairspring pledges increased chronometric precision and
reliability. Its unidirectional rotatable graduated bezel allows the safe
reading of dive time.
A power of seduction that never goes out of style
This new model is no stranger to comfort. The Rolex Glidelock clasp
allows for fine adjustments of the bracelet length.
On land as at sea, watch and wearer are bound by the emotional
charge deriving from the Submariner’s irresistible power of seduction.


Exacting standards of craftsmanship and technology are employed
by Bentley’s body assembly team to create the new Mulsanne’s
distinctive, hand-crafted ‘hewn from solid’ appearance. But this is
just a precursor to the painstaking attention to detail afforded to
Bentley’s new 4-door flagship in the paint facility at the company’s
headquarters in Crewe, England


he new Mulsanne will be offered in
no fewer than 115 ‘standard colours’
and that is just the start of the story
– because, like every grand Bentley – the
only real limit on the colour of the car is the
customer’s imagination.
Once the bare metal, pre-production
Mulsanne bodyshell arrives at the paint
shop via the automated overhead gantry,
it passes through a series of full-immersion
tanks, designed first to de-grease, then in
turn to clean, condition, rinse, phosphate and
passivate the steel and aluminium structure.
At each tank the shell is immersed before
being tipped fore and aft to ensure that every
single crevice is reached. Once drained,
the bodyshell is lowered into an electro-
coating tank, where power is increased to
320 volts, attracting particles-in-solution to
deposit on the charged, metal bodywork to
form, in conjunction with the phosphate, a


hard protective shell of corrosion-proof zinc

From this point, the judgement and skill
of Bentley’s craftsmen come to the fore. A
two-coat primer is applied by hand, ready for
colour-of-choice to be applied. Each primed
body is minutely inspected, sanded – or flatted
– using a combination of hand and power
tools. Only when the primer coat is flawless
will the colour basecoat be applied, again by
hand, to achieve the optimum finish. Clear
lacquer coats are then applied robotically
followed by final polishing for a perfectionist
finish and detailed inspection in the specialist
bays created for the Mulsanne.
But if the lacquer can be applied by
robotics, why not the colour? Dave Walton of
the Mulsanne bespoke paint shop explains:
“Different colours have markedly different
characteristics and your perception of a
colour’s shade changes according to how
deep the coat is. Then there’s the fact that no
two expert sprayers would apply that colour
basecoat in exactly the same way. You learn
to trust each craftsman’s eyes and skills, not
just the process.
It takes many months of in-depth training
for a quality control inspector to learn how
to identify defects that an owner might never
notice, yet each one will be rectified, even
if this means sending it around the entire
process again. We always operate way above
customer expectations of quality,”
With the introduction of new satin paint
finishes and two-tone colour schemes to
Bentley’s extensive portfolio, Walton says
the skills of the team are always evolving.
Satin in particular can’t be locally reworked
and polished, so even the most miniscule
imperfection means the entire panel is
However, Bentley’s craftsmen are eagerly
awaiting the moment the Mulsanne goes into
full production according to Walton:
“We’ve been asked to match a paint finish
to a cherished nail polish, a 50-year old
classic Bentley and on one occasion a shade
of turquoise on a food mixer for our Arnage,
Brooklands and Azure customers. But even
with over a hundred ‘standard colours’ to
choose from we’re still looking forward to that
first commission to create a bespoke colour
from scratch and execute it perfectly.”

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Bridgestone marks a
successful year in Oman
We interviewed Mohan Menon, General Manager of Towell Auto
Centre’s TBA arm and spoke to him at length about the latest
accolades won by his team from Bridgestone


We are meeting here regarding some

new awards won by your team. Could
you brief us about them?

Bridgestone announces every year awards

for performance related to competition
between the countries which are in the zone.
Bridgestone has strategic business units and
these comprise of areas where the countries
depending on geographical locations are
covered. In the local strategic business unit,
all the Middle East and Africa are covered.
We are talking of about 70 countries. Last
year was a recession year during which
everybody was complaining about business
dropping between 30 to 40% and as a result
Bridgestone set up a competition between the
importers in these 70 countries saying that
we will give the criteria like sales, strategies
applied, initiatives taken during the year, and
so on. Mohan Menon is pragmatic about the brand’s success in the past year, choosing
At the end of the day, we at Towell Auto to attribute it to smart strategic moves and reaching out to customers
Centre exceeded the 2008 sales, which no
other country could emulate because 2008
was a so-called boom year. Everybody was
automatically increasing sales over 2007, but
somebody increasing sales in 2009 over 2008 Were there any new strategies applied? How much of the measurement criteria
was the surprise. Bridgestone calculates what for these awards is subjective and how
is called raw rubber tonnage and we did about Yes, apart from all the previously mentioned much by objective measure?
5% more in 2009., while other countries did moves we applied new strategies. In a
significantly lower than 2008. difficult year most companies don’t think of It can be seen as the Oscar awards of
Our market went down by around 30% investments or large capital spends. Last year Bridgestone. There are 5 general managers
too, so the good news is that we captured we have invested in a new project which is a who report to the directors and president.
marketshare from others, because all our tyre retreading factory. There are 67 people in Dubai in various
customers dropped volumes and we couldn’t Who would do that? Most people would say functions. Each general manager is responsible
have done so well without gaining customers let’s wait and watch, but we were confident for an area. Each puts forward a distributor or
from other brands. and the factory is now coming up. But the importer from his region, like the nominations
How did we achieve this? Because we had process started last year when everybody for Oscars. Eventually all of them vote say
strategies planned from December 2008 with was backing off, we were building up what who is the best. They are given these criteria
the principals, we put in a lot of technical we call our solution business, where we sell against which to measure the performance,
inputs, we told the customer you are now tyres to customers, take them back, retread like sales, initiatives, they have a full list and
trying to save money and here’s how to do them and in the process our customer’s costs based on that they decide who is the best.
it. Eventually in all our various channels, come down and we tie them up as long term We not only won that award, we also won
we have channels like the fleet channel, customers. another award which is for the retail CRM
our retail shops, the ministry channel, so in This is done in a big way in South Africa. We which we do, which is a big thing that no other
each channel we had a separate focus we went down there studied it and implemented distributor is doing. We have our 16 shops in
didn’t compromise on people – people are it here. Apart from just sitting on our normal which every customer who comes in has his
our strength, trained and ready – we didn’t processes, we did all this and this award is details collected in a format by the counter
sack anybody or send anyone home. The end for these initiatives too. We strategised and sales people. From that data, we have a lady
result was that we were able to exceed our took more share and we went ahead and here in this office who at random picks up
2008 volumes. invested too. customers and calls them to find out how the


car is doing and if they have any feedback felt the impact on our sales off-take in the got their own set of problems, especially in
and what they think we could do to improve. fleet business. Same thing with individuals commercial vehicles. If you go around here
She then tabulates all thatand this is fed to who had lost money in the stock markets and you don’t see too many new trucks anymore.
the retail manager who then interacts with were under pressure from banks to keep their Everybody is buying second-hand trucks,
that branch or that shop to communicate loans clean. especially from Dubai where one-year old,
the areas they could improve in and every The other problem with the market was one and a half uear old trucks are available at
monthwe have a meeting here where all the that due to the looming economic uncertainity half the price. So I know for fact that a certain
staff come and our CRM support lady makes customers felt that the prices of goods would company here bought 58 trucks from Dubai,
a presentation highlighting that month’s start to go down, the seller would have to sell which they would have normally bought from
achievements. and if we wait we will get a better deal. The here.
In the process, any customer with a complaint first quarter was probably the worst I have Therefore the aggression in the market
has it recorded and the lady immediately talks ever seen in terms of business. from the commercial tyre manufacturers has
to him and then the complaint is sent back to But, because of our strategies, we went to become intense, but because of our activities
the shop and the counter sales staff visit the existing fleets and told them we were with and with the retreading plant a lot of our
customer and sorts it out. She follows up the them and went to newer fleets and started customers don’t want to shift. They put a lot
process till the problem is sorted out. pitching to them against very stiff competition of pressure on us because the other brands go
What has happened in the process is that the second quarter saw us come back out of and quote low ratesbut we are able to manage
customers have been communicating about it. Added to that in the second quarter the with the value that we offer the customer.
this by word of mouth with their friends and tell ministries too got their allocations so they too This year we feel that now with projects
them that if you go to Bridgestone somebody started buying and business started going like the airport, where a lot of tyres are
is willing to talk to you and ask you about your up. The third quarter was happy for us, with required and the other road projects which
purchase and that somebody is listening. In nothing affecting us. have already been declared we have a good
the tyre industry nobody does that. It is for The fourth quarter for us was the best. year ahead.
this that we got the second award. Generally, we do our maximum business
in summer and by winter it comes down. Will the retreading plant be only for
You mentioned that you have various Secondly most of the fleet customers postpone commercial vehicles and construction
channels that worked together to get their buying for January or later because they equipment?
you this award. Have they all performed want to finish their year on a good note, but
equally well? last year we were on such a high that the 4th In this part of the world retreading is allowed
was better than the 3rd quarter. only on truck tyres above 20” rims. It is not
Initially last year during the first quarter we Even January this year was excellent and allowed on light trucks or passenger vehicles.
probably had the maximum impact of the bad February looks good so the momentum is Then the government also does not allow it
year. It was September-October when the on. All this was watched by Bridgetone and on the steer axle for safety purpose. There
world collapsed and by the time the effect they found that most of the others were are a lot of criteria governing retreading. So
reached here in the Gulf and to our market complaining. Nobody purchased for the first the factory will basically be retreading truck
it took time. The worst impact in this part 6 months while we were the only importers tyres.
of the world was felt in the first quarter of ordering month after month and shouting
2009. People went into a funk, people lost because we couldn’t get stocks because of What is Bridgestone’s involvement with
money personally and so did companies. The trims in production. We struggled to get lots the retreading operation?
first three months were a depressed time for of critical sizes even though they gave us a lot
all businesses, ministries, fleets, individuals, of stock allocated to other distributors. Still if Two years ago Bridgestone decided to enter
everybody. All the channels took the hit too. we had enough of what we wanted we would retreading and bought the world’s biggest
In fact what happened was that the fleets have probably done much better. retreader – Bandag.
were trying to gauge what had happened In many countries because of the speed and
to their businesses, would there be more What is the outlook for 2010? load control the casing is good while the tread
projects, do we send people back, so they wears out. Retreading is thus popular. Bus
started cutting down on their inventories. This year looks good. Competition has tyres are a favourite to retread. Bridgestone
Large infrastructure operators in Oman with increased, for many reasons. One of the bought the company and I knew that
many site projects with tyres, steel and such things is that a lot of these tyre companies Bridgestone was doing this in South Africa
stocked on site. The realised that they have supply OEM to vehicle manufacturers and and managed to get them involved with the
to cut down on inventory and as a result we as you know vehicle manufacturers have project here too.


{Road Test}

{Road Test}

Simply irresistible
Stand by for action as the sixth generation 2010 VW Golf GTI hits
the roads in our region. This GTI is one of few most desirable hot
hatch models of German origin, and probably among the fastest
mainstream models in the segment’s history. Automan was given
exclusive access to the car

uintessentially, five generations of Inside the cabin, the layout is familiar, engine displacement capacity and also some
Volkswagen Golf GTIs have established but once again, the execution is decidedly cylinders, the GTI doesn’t have to worry
an iconic status of this the pocket different. The car’s black leather interior about that. Volkswagen engineers have sort of
rocket hot hatch by aficionados. Ever since, is trimmed with carbon fibre and polished guaranteed expected levels performance from
the latest iteration was showcased at the Dubai aluminium trims and the seats are firm and the small displacement four-cylinder force-
International Motor Show in December 2009, sporty. Pedals come with brushed stainless fed package. Using once-exotic technologies
enthusiastic drivers have been itching for a steel caps, the customized GTI gearshift like direct fuel injection and turbocharging,
chance to get behind the wheel of this car. lever is finished in aluminium, the leather- VW is one of the leaders when it comes to
With the first generation of the GTI, bound steering wheel has grip recesses and squeezing more power and efficiency out of
Volkswagen’s idea was to present the Golf with a prominent GTI logo. And there are plenty smaller gasoline engines.
a bit of sporty character. So, it was originally of other clues to constantly remind you that At exactly 210hp, in terms of power level
planned as a limited series run of 5,000 this is no ordinary Golf even before you have the new Golf GTI’s turbo stratified injection
units. But to the surprise of the carmaker, the switched on the engine such as decorative (TSI) engine is positioned between the last
GTI not only became a bestseller, but also red seams on the steering wheel, gearshift production GTI and the 30 Year Edition.
quickly became synonymous with nifty sporty surround and leather parking brake grip Although its performance and displacement
compacts. The Golf GTI has certainly earned besides the black roofliner and pillar trim. data might suggest an advanced development
its medals. Since the debut of the first and the Rest of the multimedia package and control of the 200hp engine, actually this powerplant
discontinuation of the fifth generation, more switches are mostly stock. belongs to the “EA888” generation of engines
than 1.7 million buyers have bought a Golf Practicality is typical Volkswagen and the that produced 230hp. This is a slightly detune
GTI. marriage of cubbies in the interior and flexible version and the TSI version used is from the
In profile, the incoming GTI is similar in cargo areas through split folding rear seats second development stage of the system.
shape and dimensions to its stock brethren, has been faithfully retained. Once inside the This engine has been optimized for transverse
but when it comes to detailing inside out, the car, it doesn’t really matter what mood you mounting in the new GTI and has several
story is quite different. The car appears squat are in. The two figure-hugging sports seats new components such as modified pistons
and a bit wider because the chassis has been ensure a cosseted ride and once strapped in, and piston rings, a regulated oil pump, a new
lowered and the grille intakes are wider, bigger the car immediately begins to connect with its vacuum pump, a new high-pressure fuel pump
and follow the new horizontal placement. The occupants. Rear accommodation is adequate and a new mass airflow sensor. The engine
aggressive front end comes with a low splitter for average sized adults. also meets the Euro-5 emissions standards.
and deep air intakes. At the rear, unlike some A GTI-badged Golf is about high speed Besides the powertrain hardware and
similar cars like the Ford Focus RS, there’s no driving with utmost care and precision. The packaging, this version of the Golf GTI has
rear spoiler or rally-inspired diffuser. However, 2010 edition doesn’t compromise on that been endowed with many first time features
the lower valance up front and the rear is aspect at all – one of the key reasons is such as adaptive cruise control, and optional
busier than the stock version while a pair of Volkswagen’s superb engineering prowess feature being the Park Assist and completely
chrome tailpipes are integrated in the GTI’s and packaging. While the current trend redesigned bi-xenon headlights which includes
blackened diffuser. in the automotive market is to downsize swivel mechanism during cornering.

{Road Test}

Driving impressions road behind Dubai’s famous Burj Khalifa tower at these speeds one begins to empathise with
The seats do offer a high degree of long where we were able to push the GTI to its limits the balance between the car’s air resistance
touring comfort and are equally fit to run a and the gratification was pure entertainment. (cd 0.324) and power. Of course, the rev
24-hour race. But as soon as the driver fires A blur of hand with the DSG transmission, and counter needle would indicate 5,900rpm at
the engine and floors the accelerator pedal, timed foot co-ordination was a sure shot way this point.
it clearly indicates its intentions through its of gaining complete mastery of the car. The But to attain sure shot performance like
off-beat resonance from the exhaust tips that DSG is incredibly fast and precise, and the way this, the car’s packaging needs a couple
pleasantly entertain occupants and onlookers in which the Golf GTI with DSG automatically of other things such as an exceptionally
alike. double declutches when downshifting is a joy compliant chassis, a flexible suspension set-
Owners of this GTI are sure to fall in love for any sports car driver. up [preferably driver-aided], aero tweaking
with the model, because as well being a Although, quite possible in theory, we and good rubber. We are happy to note that
capable track day performer it can also serve consciously avoided the idea of sliding the car the GTI has all these and more. After a while,
as daily transport with equal ease. Thanks to sideways at speeds, as it would have been the car’s handling becomes predictable and
its split personality, it’s not surprising that it reckless on our part, however we didn’t give diving in and out of fast corners becomes a
can cruise serenely at high speed, while the up accelerating the car from 0 to 100 km/h in natural ability.
engine settles to a gentle hum as if on cue. just 6.9 seconds. Interestingly, the DSG set- Although, the suspension has been
To extract the GTI’s hidden capabilities, up timing is identical to that of the 6-speed calibrated to offer a stiff side and the steering
we had to find an unhindered location. We manual transmission versions, while top is slightly on the heavier side, but feedback is
found an under construction stretch of new speed for the DSG is around 240km/h, and fantastic – all you have to do is point the car

{Road Test}

and jab the throttle. Without hesitating, the

car will take you there with utmost precision.
While enjoying the car’s overall performance,
we were keen to unravel the secret behind
the powertrain’s split personality. At a low
1,700 rpm, the engine, it seems develops its
maximum torque of 280Nm. As a result there’s
reserve torque available up to 5,200 rpm. In
practice, this means impressive power in all
of life’s situations with a flat torque curve.
The way the engine has been programmed,
it allows maximum power of the sixteen-valve
engine with 9.6:1 compression ratio to be
tapped evenly between 5,300 and 6,200rpm.
On one hand you have the power, but the
jewel in the crown is a very clever suspension
system that dramatically reduces the torque
steer. Just how precisely the GTI tracks
steering inputs and this steering precision

{Road Test}

is directly reflected in driving quality. No lowered by 22mm and its rear by 15mm.
matter how we pushed it, the test car offered The entire architecture of springs, dampers
Performance of the GTI practically no hint of body roll. The car’s lack and rear stabilizers was completely re-tuned.
When it comes to emissions and fuel of roll and pitch results in very safe driving In front, the familiar strut-type suspension
economy, the new 210 hp engine has behaviour as the electronic damper control operates with helical springs and telescoping
advanced far ahead of the two previous of its new DCC system not only handles shock absorbers. In the rear, an innovative
GTI four-cylinder engines with 200 and with sports car stiffness, it is also offers a multi-link suspension ensures that the ESP
230 hp. To be specific, the 1,984 cm³ comfortable ride via dial-a-setting switching system seldom needs to intervene. The braking
displacement TSI on the new GTI is modes. Besides the “Normal” program with system is also pretty good by our demanding
content with just 7.3 litres fuel per 100 a basic medium setting, DCC on the Golf GTI standards and we didn’t notice any pedal fade
kilometres on average. On the 200 hp also offers the “Sport” and “Comfort” modes or sponginess. Compared with the outgoing
GTI, fuel consumption was 8.0 litres, and that are activated by a pushbutton above car, for the first time in a Volkswagen, the
the 230 hp GTI came in at 8.2 litres per the shift gate. In “Sport” mode, the power XDS electronic transverse differential lock
100 kilometres. So the theoretical range steering is also tuned for greater dynamic has been used which significantly improves
of the sixth GTI is about 750 kilometres responsiveness. traction and handling properties. Technically
between fill-ups. The new car also benefits aerodynamically speaking, XDS is a functional extension of
as it has been lowered when compare to the the electronic limited-slip differential (EDS)
outgoing edition. The front end has been integrated in the ESP system and we didn’t

{Road Test}

have any issue with it.

Like premium segment luxury cars, the
technology package doesn’t just end here. For
the first time, the distance control system ACC
(Adaptive Cruise Control) has been introduced
in the GTI. When ACC is activated, the system
automatically brakes and accelerates the GTI
within a speed window from 30 to 210 km/h.

Fans of fast hatchbacks in our region have
been eagerly anticipating a new GTI and
we’re pleased to report the wait has been
more than worth it. This is one mean machine
which transforms the GTI from family-friendly
motorcar to a true macho beast. Although,
Volkswagen has added a few more gizmos,
the GTI, still remains as a purist’s car.

{Road Test}

{Road Test}

The Coupe that

Runneth Over
Honda has a penchant for making driver’s cars - the
Accord Coupe, built on the Sedan’s underpinnings, makes
a case for itself

he sedan car market may be under pressure in most parts of the
world but that isn’t preventing car makers from extending their
sedan platforms into other spin-offs. Like all great manufacturers
of yore, Hoda is no stranger to the genre. If you look back a decade
you will see that the Accord-Prelude duo were perfect examples of
the same essential car serving two entirely different market sets.
Today that equation is served by the simultaneous development of
the Accord Sedan and Coupe.
Admittedly we have come to test the Coupe more than a couple of
years after the launch of the new platform. The Sedan, with its two
engine choices and a whole series of grades makes for an appealing
choice in the world of family and executive cars. the Coupe however,
at the very outset, serves to compete with just one other car in
the market and that is the Altima Coupe. While their evolution and
treatment are largely similar in relation to their sedan underpinnings,
the Honda Accord does manage to stand out for a few reasons. Let us
look at the basic features of the car.
The Accord interior is designed for a dynamic, intuitive and
upscale presence,starting with an easy-to-read information display
on every vehicle. A zone stylingapproach separates operation-related
instruments (top) and information-related instruments (lower).
At night, the controls are further separated by color to distinguish
between climate controls (aqua green) and audio controls (white).
Classically-styled gauges for the speedometer and tachometer are
perfectly round (instead of being truncated at the bottom). Steering
wheel audio controls are standard on every Accord.
Careful attention was paid to the symmetry of the exterior and
interior of the vehicle – including sight lines related to the dashboard
height and the visual presence of the hood to the driver.
Redesigned front bucket seats are larger, and feature substantial
lateral support to complement the Accord’s sporting side.
With its combination of aggressive styling, dynamic performance
and advanced technology, the new Accord Coupe’s design philosophy
is aggressive and powerful. Its sophisticated design takes the Accord
Coupe further toward exciting, sporty performance than any Accord
Coupe in history – and then delivers on that promise. There are no
visible exterior body panels, lights, glass, grille or bumpers shared
between the Accord Sedan and Accord Coupe – only the door mirrors
and door handles are common. Beneath the skin, the underlying

{Road Test}

{Road Test}

chassis construction is the same between the Sedan and Coupe, noise that can result from air turbulence underneath the car. The
except that the Coupe wheelbase is 58mm shorter. Accord’s new frame rail design does not compromise interior room.
The Accord Coupe styling radically breaks from the sedan with a Reducing audible wind noise was an important Accord engineering
uniquely aggressive image. Its long hood, sleek roofline and muscular goal, particularly high frequency noise that can be distracting and
lines suggest power and a heightened agility compared to the sedan. impede conversation. The flatter bottom of the car, together with
Dimensionally, the Accord Coupe’s overall length of 4.85metres is careful tailoring of the body shape, window moldings, windshield
82mm longer than the older model, its width of 1.85metres is 30mm wipers and outside mirror shapes, all play a part in reducing wind
wider, and its height of 1433mm is 15 to 18mm higher. Compared to noise.
the Accord Sedan, the Accord Coupe is 80mm shorter in length, 40mm Aerodynamic efficiency is likewise improved. The coefficient of drag
shorter in height and just a bit wider. for the Accord is just over 0.31 Cd for the Sedan and 0.33 Cd for
The coupe to some extent remains overshadowed by the popularity the Coupe. This compares favourably with the 0.34 Cd figure for the
of the Sedan. While dimensionally different from the four-door, the previous generation Accord. In addition, the Accord’s coefficient of
size distinction is hardly noticeable from any angle and the view from lift (Cl), which indicates how much body lift occurs at speed, drops
the front is distinctly one where you ask whether the Accord sedan from over 0.20 Cl to just over 0.17 Cl for the Sedan and 0.14 Cl for
has been through a model year tweak rather than seeing a completely the Coupe.
different vehicle altogether. The same of course can’t be said about Additional under-vehicle aerodynamic aids include a wide chin
the view points from either side or the rear. Interestingly the point of spoiler that directs air under the front subframe. Additional strakes
making a Coupe on the same wheelbase of the Sedan seems to be are positioned ahead of the front and rear wheels, plus two additional
to maximise the door size and the quarter glass. The swoop of the deflectors that smooth airflow over the front suspension. An engine
roofline has been nicely tended to as has the treatment of the entire under-cover directs airflow under the engine, while two middle under-
rear deck. There is an added sense of urgency to the design of the covers direct air around the edges of the fuel tank.
Coupe that lends a semblance of motion at all times. In addition to being lighter and wider, and offering a greater
However in the process of shortening the rear deck and integrating opening range, the moonroof operation is also improved. To tilt or
its profile with the Coupe’s roofline the trunk access does seem to slide the moonroof the driver or front passenger needs only to fully
suffer a bit. As you can see from the photograph alongside, the trunk
lid does not open ‘all the way’ and that combined with a rather high
liftover height tends to negate the advantages of a rather roomy trunk.
You could explain it away by saying that the car’s typical customer in
the region and in Oman is the young woman, who would rather not be
lifting heavy loads or large ones into their trunk.
The interior, as mentioned before does come across as well thought
out and roomy, though like the Sedan and indeed some other models
in its range, it is a touch spartan. We kept looking around for some of
the gadgetry or bolder statements that would add the ‘sports’ element
to a good car – but what you take away is great ergonomics, full
marks for utility, comfort and glitz – but no glamour.
The body uses 48% high-strength sheet steel for greater stiffness
and reduced weight, compared to 39% in the previous-generation
Accord. This greater use of this steel (590 and 440 grade) reduces
body weight while increasing rigidity, which pays dividends in ride,
handling and interior quietness. This also helps the Accord target the
top durability, quality and reliability (DQR) in its class.
New design techniques and the widespread use of high-strength
sheet steel make the model the stiffest Accord ever, and yields benefits
in ride, handling and overall durability. With the most high-strength
steel of any Honda car in history, the 2008 Accord is stronger as well
as larger, without imposing a significant weight increase.
Specific improvements are found in the rear of the vehicle, where
33% greater vertical rigidity directly enhances ride quality and
The new Accord is the first vehicle to use Honda’s new unit-body
frame rail system. Positioning the stamped steel frame rails above
and inside the Accord’s body structure floor – instead of underneath
it – creates a nearly flat bottom under the car. The result is greater
aerodynamic efficiency for improved fuel mileage, and reduced interior

{Road Test}

press the ceiling-mounted switch once (instead of pressing and

holding it for several seconds). The moonroof fully opens or closes
automatically. However if the operator wishes to only partially open or
close the moonroof (such as to achieve partial ventilation), a lighter
touch yields fully manual control. The moonroof can also tilt to provide
ventilation. A pinch protection feature is built in, helping to ensure
that the moonroof will not forcefully close if someone’s hand or arm is
positioned in the path of the moonroof. If an obstruction is detected,
the moonroof mechanism will reopen the moonroof.
The new Accord’s front suspension is a modified version of the
double-wishbone system used on the old Accord, with stabilizer bars,
spring and damping rates optimized to provide the best combination
of ride and handling. Front lower control arms are forged steel and
connect to a stamped steel box-section sub frame. A stamped steel
upper control arm complements a forged-steel knuckle, and nitrogen
gas-filled coil-over dampers are used. A key improvement to the
new Accord’s front suspension geometry is increased anti-dive under
braking. This affords occupants a more stable feeling under severe
braking conditions.
The new Accord utilises a new compact multi-link rear suspension.
Each side features a nitrogen gasfilled coil-over damper, a newly
designed stamped steel upper A-arm, two tubular steel lower links, a
single toe-control link, and an aluminium knuckle.
The arms and links are mounted to a floating sub frame to reduce
road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
The body structure around the suspension is stiffer, permitting more
ideal tuning of the suspension. Compared to the previous generation
Accord, the new model’s rear suspension has 40% greater lateral
rigidity. The new rear suspension geometry enhances ride comfort
and overall handling and braking.
The 3.5-litre engine ensures that the entire package moves wit
maximum efficiency and stays at just a few notches below threatening
All in all the Accord Coupe is stylish, looks great in the red colour
we tested nd provides a good value for money option pitched against
other low volume’identity ‘ cars.

{Road Test}


Geneva, as usual,
draws all the
interesting ones
The automobile industry presented a Geneva International Motor
Show more glittering and innovative than ever


fter a very difficult 2009, the manufacturers have demonstrated
a tremendous capacity to adapt with their presentation of more
than one hundred world and European premiers, providing great
pleasure to the large number of media representatives and the visiting
public who, once again, were very appreciative of the welcoming and
quality atmosphere of the event. This 80th edition finished with very
positive results, and the dates for next year have already been fixed
for March 3-13, 2011.
More than 11,000 representatives from the written, audio-visual and
electronic media from all over the globe were welcomed to PALEXPO
for the two press days on March 2-3, 2010. Extensive media coverage
throughout the world emanated from 75 press conferences organised
by the car manufacturers, the presence of many famous personalities,
and special events organised within the framework of the Motor
The provisional results from a survey of the visiting public shows that
the Geneva International Motor Show rates as the most international Bentley >>
in the world with around 40% arriving from outside Switzerland.
Some 692,000 visitors thronged through the 7 exhibition halls of
Palexpo during the 11 days it was open to the public. They particularly
appreciated the different visions of the future of transportation that
B entley announced its environmental strategy at the Geneva Motor
Show in 2008. The three-fold strategy committed the Company to
reduce overall CO2 emissions by 15% by 2012; to introduce a new
were on show. powertrain which will, by itself, deliver a 40% saving in fuel economy;
“The attendance result is almost 7 % higher than last year and and a commitment that the entire model range would be compatible
achieved the goals we had set” affirmed Mr. Luc Argand, President with renewable fuels, also by 2012.
of the Motor Show. “however, our goal was not to beat our previous The first tangible step in the delivery of that strategy was unveiled
attendance records, but to provide visitors with the best conditions in Geneva last year with the launch of the Continental Supersports,
and greatest comfort possible, which we succeeded in doing again this the first Bentley to be able to run on gasoline, E85 bioethanol or any
year, according to our visitors.” combination of the two fuels.

Hyundai >>

M aking its global debut at the Geneva Show,

the Hyundai i-flow concept car carries
forward the company’s evocative new form
language, ‘fluidic design’. The flowing, elegant
lines not only create a futuristic shape, but also
contribute to exceptional aerodynamics and help
to reduce the car’s CO2 output to just 85g/km.
Hyundai’s first diesel hybrid powertrain is also a
key factor in delivering such an environmentally-
conscious performance, as is the application
of next-generation materials and technologies
developed in cooperation with leading chemical
company BASF.
With an overall length of 4,780mm, a 2,800mm
wheelbase, 1,850mm width and 1,420mm height
give the i-flow a stance which is more akin to a
coupe than a traditional D-segment saloon.
Despite the sporty stance, the i-flow redefines
the perception of space. Fundamental elements,
such as the seats and centre console, were crafted for minimal weight i-flow’s six-speed, dual-clutch transmission.
and volume using cutting-edge materials from BASF. The i-flow is a test bed for new energy harvesting ideas, ranging
Under the sleek bonnet is Hyundai’s first diesel-electric hybrid from flexible solar panel roofing to a thermo-electric generator which
powertrain. It uses the exciting new 1.7-litre engine plus two-stage uses exhaust heat to produce power.
turbocharging linked to a Lithium Ion-Polymer battery to give a very The i-flow’s looks and technology point the way to a new D-segment
efficient and advanced combination, particularly when partnered with family car which Hyundai plans to launch in early 2011.


Geneva 2010 marks another significant step forward. From 2011

Model Year, (available June 2010), the entire Continental range
Renault >>
will be FlexFuel in all markets – including, for the first time, North
American. This includes the new Supersports Convertible – the fastest
4 seat production convertible ever. With this development, over half
T wo new sport-oriented models – Mégane GT and Mégane GT Line –
add a further dash of appeal to the Mégane family. Developed with
special know-how from Renault Sport Technologies, the new models
of Bentley’s production volume in 2010 will be FlexFuel compatible. are on a mission to open up the world of driving thrills and sportiness
This advance will ensure Bentley customers can take advantage of to as many motorists as possible.
the recent expansion of renewable fuel infrastructure in key markets The GT version – the most exclusive of the two – is only available
including the US and thus help reduce dependency on fossil fuels and in combination with the TCe 180 petrol engine or with the powerful,
give immediate benefits in terms of CO2 emissions. high-torque dCi 160 diesel powerplant. Also the specification includes
The return of the Mulsanne name, announced for Geneva, underlines a number of chassis components drawn from Mégane Renaultsport.
Based on the Dynamique equipment level, the GT Line version uses
Mégane Coupé’s sport chassis, in combination with a choice of fuel
efficient, eco-friendly engines including the dCi 110 DPF (114g of CO2/
km), now available with the very latest EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch)
automatic dual clutch transmission.
At Geneva, Renault premiered two new convertible models:
NewMégane Coupé-Cabriolet and Wind (shown alongside).
The former is the Renault’s fourth consecutive C-segment cabriolet.
Its arresting looks combine the elegance of a coupé with the promise
of the pleasure that goes hand-in-hand with open-top motoring.
Meanwhile, Wind gives a completely new take in the world of compact
roadsters. It is an inventive, fun-to-drive coupé-roadster that lends
itself perfectly to everyday motoring.

Bentley’s sporting heritage and passion for power and speed. Nothing powerful and reliable race cars have thundered down the long straight
reflects that prowess better than the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race. into the famous Mulsanne corner, from which the new model takes its
Bentley has enjoyed success on six occasions at Le Mans, where its name.


Aston Martin >>

A ston Martin presented the world debut of

the V12 Vantage Carbon Black Edition, a
new bespoke service; Works Service Tailored
and the new DBS UB-2010 as well as the
Cygnet Concept.
The Aston Martin Cygnet Concept is a bold
step towards a new form of transportation;
the luxury commuter car, a form of personal
transportation that sees the company’s core
values engage with a new environment.
The Cygnet Concept enhances the marque,
pointing to a future of ongoing innovation,
design and technology; allowing Aston Martin
customers a greater degree of freedom without
compromising the levels of design, quality and
innovation that embody the brand.
Aston Martin has always understood the
importance of an emotional engagement
with its products. As the company continues
to innovate and diversify its product portfolio,
emotional design will remain at the heart of its
Peugeot >> strategy, be it through the exhilarating sound of a V12 engine, the
unmistakeable silhouette of an Aston Martin sports car or the quality,

P eugeot is anticipating a roar of interest at the 80th Geneva Motor

Show this March when the company unleashes its two stunning
Concept Cars, the 5 by Peugeot luxury saloon and the SR1 Sports
craftsmanship and skill that is evident in an Aston Martin interior. The
Cygnet Concept exemplifies this latter attribute, demonstrating the
high levels of detail design and craft that are integral to every Aston
Coupé, in a public arena for the very first time. Martin, presented within a compact and highly advanced technological
Both will share centre stage with the eagerly awaited Peugeot RCZ package.
Sports Coupé displayed just weeks before it goes on sale, together The Cygnet Concept is a demonstration of Aston Martin’s unrivalled
with the What Car? award winning duo of the 3008 Crossover and skill at creating hand-crafted interiors. The rich blend of hand-stitched
5008 MPV. leather, Alcantara and aluminium is shared with Aston Martin’s sports
Sporting the newly evolved Lion badge, the stylish 5 by Peugeot cars. The company’s extensive experience of traditional processes
created instant commotion thanks to its bold design and innovations, and richly detailed craftsmanship gives each Aston Martin a unique
when details were first released earlier this month. Powered by feel, bringing together detailed design work, high technology and
Peugeot’s HYbrid4 diesel hybrid technology, it produces 200 bhp and exquisitely tactile materials.
zero emissions when in electric mode. This revolutionary technology
also provides fuel economy of over 74 mpg and emissions of just 99g/
km without any compromise in performance or refinement.
Peugeot’s environmental leadership will also be on display in Geneva.
Whether it’s the Peugeot i0n, the first 100% electric vehicle in Europe,
the confirmation that the BB1 mobility project will become reality, or
Peugeot’s pioneering diesel particulate emission filter technology fitted
to 2.3 million vehicles worldwide. In fact 50% of Peugeot vehicles sold
in Europe have emissions of less than 130 g/km of CO2.
Geneva will also see the unveiling of Peugeot’s e-HDi micro-hybrid
technology to be launched in 2011, which provides reductions in fuel
consumption and emissions of up to 15% in urban use, and the 3008
HYbrid4 plug-in to be launched in 2012, with CO2 emissions of just
The spotlight will also shine on the awe-inspiring SR1 Concept which,
together with the RCZ Sports Coupé – already voted the world’s most
beautiful car at the 25th International Automobile Festival - proves
that Peugeot’s flair for stylish, feline design is very much alive and


Jaguar >>
T he XKR Coupe unveiled at Geneva showcases
two new optional performance and styling
packs – Speed Pack and Black Pack - that are
introduced to the XK range at 2011 Model Year.
Jaguar customers have the option to personalise
their vehicle to create a car that offers even
greater performance without compromising the
refinement and luxury for which every Jaguar is
By raising the XKR’s maximum speed the new
car has extended its sporting credentials taking it
even further into supercar performance territory.
The XKR Coupe with new optional Speed Pack
allows customers to further strengthen their
XKR’s already impressive breadth of capability,
by extending the car’s top speed from 155mph
(250km/h) to an electronically limited 174mph
(280km/h) thanks to a unique engine and
transmission recalibration.
To ensure the XKR with Speed Pack remains stable at high speeds,
the coupe uses a revised front aerodynamic splitter and larger rear
spoiler to provide increased balance and a reduction in lift. The XKR’s
computerised Active Differential Control also adjusts to reduce steering
sensitivity at very high speeds, further improving stability and driver

Tata >>

T ata Motors presented at the 80th Geneva Motor Show the Tata
Nano Electric Vehicle (EV), based on the award winning Tata Nano
platform. When launched, it will expand the company’s electric vehicles
portfolio, which already comprises the Tata Indica Vista EV.
Mr. Ravi Kant, Vice Chairman, Tata Motors, said, “Electrification will
be an integral part of our initiative to launch environment-friendly
vehicles. The Indica Vista EV will be introduced in select European
countries, beginning this year. We will progressively introduce electric
vehicles in all relevant markets.”
The Tata Nano EV offers the practicality of a real car, compromising
nothing in the pursuit of providing environment-friendly personal
transportation for the modern consumer.
It will seat four individuals comfortably in its spacious interiors,
which the Tata Nano is known for. It will have a predicted range of up
to 160 km and an acceleration of 0-60 kmph in under 10 seconds.
Tata Motors continues its innovative approach with the Tata Nano
EV, using super polymer lithium ion batteries, as in the Tata Indica Vista
EV, which provide superior energy density to conventional batteries.
The company has already displayed the Tata Nano Europa at last
year’s Geneva Motor Show, and expects to launch it in select European
countries in a couple of years. Meanwhile, in India, the Tata Nano, now
being delivered to the first 100,000 chosen customers, has received
rave reviews. It has won the 2010 ICOTY (Indian Car of the Year)
Award, an award instituted jointly by six auto publications. It has also
been individually declared as the Car of the Year by three other auto From the region – King Saud University Gazal-1
publications/television channels.


Zagato >> Fornasari >>

Toyota >>
C elica, MR2, Supra, Corolla AE86: Toyota’s great driver-focused sports
cars of the past have inspired its vision for a future-generation concept
model that makes its European debut at the Geneva motor show.
front-engine, rear-wheel drive powertrain, compact dimensions, light
weight, impeccable balance and strong power to weight ratio. Even
more than 20 years on from the end of production, it remains a popular
In creating the FT-86 (Future Toyota-86) Sports Concept, Toyota choice with privateer rally teams.
has directly referenced the excitement and fundamental fun-to-drive The FT-86 Sports Concept previews a new-generation Toyota sports
quality that characterised the Corolla AE-86. In its day the AE86 car, designed to recapture the spirit of the AE86, sharing its front-
became a must-have model for rallying and circuit racing, with its engine, rear-wheel drive credentials.


Ferrari HY-KERS >> Koenigsegg Agera >> Mazda MX-5 >>

Porsche >>
P orsche is keeping up the pace in the enhancement of efficiency
combined with driving pleasure, by shifting to the next gear at
the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with no less than three world debuts in
ultra-efficient, low-emission drive technology, Porsche is further
increasing the Company’s competence in hybrid technology.
The 918 Spyder prototype combines high-tech racing features and
hybrid technology. electro-mobility with the performance of a thoroughbred super sports
The absolute highlight is the presentation of a concept of a high- car to offer a fascinating range of qualities. These include, first and
performance mid-engined sports car with plug-in hybrid technology, foremost, an emissions level of just 70 grams/km CO2 combined with
the 918 Spyder, which debuts alongside the Cayenne S Hybrid, the fuel consumption of three litres/100 kilometres (equal to 94 mpg on
first production hybrid in the history of Porsche AG, and the 911 GT3 the New European Driving Cycle); a feat outstanding even for an
R Hybrid which is the first racing car from the Stuttgart marque with ultra-compact city car, yet truly remarkable when combined with the
electric front axle drive and a flywheel energy reservoir. performance of a supercar. Acceleration from 0-62mph (100 km/h) is
achievable in just under 3.2 seconds, a top speed of more than 198mph
Highly Efficient and Ultra-Fast: Porsche 918 Spyder Mid-Engined (320 km/h), and a lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife of
Sports Car with Plug-In Hybrid less than 7:30 minutes – faster than the Porsche Carrera GT.
Presenting a high-performance mid-engined concept sports car with


Volvo >>
T he all-new Volvo S60 made its international
debut at the Geneva Motor Show. It launches
into one of the automotive world’s most
competitive segments backed by an elegant new
coupé-like design, dynamic driving characteristics
and ground-breaking Pedestrian Detection safety
In its overall shape, the all-new S60 is a coupé;
sportier and more distinct than any previous
Volvo. In its design, it promises excellent driving
characteristics, even before you get behind the
wheel. To deliver the highest levels of driving
enjoyment, the chassis team have refined
every single detail that influences a car’s driving
properties and fine-tuned the driving experience
to offer the most dynamic ride ever seen before
on a Volvo.

Lamborghini >>
E ven more dynamic, lighter, more powerful and stunning – the
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is the new top model
in the Gallardo line-up. Its evocative “superlight” badge refers to
a driving machine of true sporting character and describes a high-
performance and lean automotive athlete. The Superleggera makes its
entrance to continue the success of its predecessor, launched in 2007,
of which Lamborghini produced and sold no less than 618 in just one

Nissan >>
D esigned to bring a breath of fresh air to the B-segment, where
customers are uninspired by the lack of orignality on offer, Juke
is a distinctive combination of SUV toughness and sporting style in a
compact package.
It will be the third member of Nissan’s crossover family, reinforcing
the company’s position as a pioneer of this increasingly popular
configuration of vehicle.
EAF is Nissan’s C-segment family car offering all the space and
practical benefits of any of its conventional rivals... but with one
notable difference. It is a pure Electric Vehicle (EV), promising zero
tailpipe emissions and low running costs. LEAF is the first purpose-
designed mass-produced EV from any major motor manufacturer and
is just the first in a range of EVs due from the company and from
Nissan’s Alliance partner Renault.
Built on an all-new bespoke EV platform, LEAF sits on a generous
2700 mm wheelbase. It is 4445 mm long, 1770 mm wide and 1550 mm
tall. Power comes from an in-house developed compact electric motor
in the front of the car driving the front wheels. The AC motor develops
80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed
of more than 140 km/h (90 mph).
A full battery charge delivers a range of approximately 160km, which
LEAF will suffice for 80 per cent of European customers who drive less than
that on an average day.


New Sonata
about town
Sonata has been the perennial best-seller in Korea since the first
generation model was launched in 1985. The sixth-generation Sonata
will continue this successful tradition with impeccable quality seen
today in other Hyundai premium models, such as the Genesis and


yundai began developing the new
Sonata in 2005 under the codename
YF. The project took 4 years and
450 billion won (US$ 372 million*) to go
from concept to customer. Although it is a
completely new vehicle, Hyundai is retaining
the Sonata brand name in most markets (the
car may be badged under a different name in
some markets).
Destined to shake up the world’s mid-size
sedan market with a daring, emotionally-driven
design, state-of-art technology and superior
build quality, the new Sonata promises to be
an exceptional driving experience.
Based on the visionary concept of
combining nature’s inherent beauty with
the ever-journeying soul, the end-product is
vehicular innovation at its functional height
and sophisticated, class-defying best. The all
new Sonata’s unique design language evokes
a sense of desire and strong appeal among
virtually all generations of drivers.
Beginning with the YF (Sonata) and LM
(Tucson) projects, Hyundai designers set
to work about three and half years ago on
developing Fluidic Sculpture, an entirely
new design direction. Fluidic Sculpture is a
consistent, cohesive design language that will
ripple through the entire Hyundai showroom.
In developing the initial Sonata sketches,
Hyundai designers considered the interplay
of natural, fluid elements with more rigid
surfaces and structures to create the illusion
of constant motion. Inspired by nature, Fluidic
Sculpture injects sophistication and dynamic
angles into the shape of a vehicle and now
serves as the core of Hyundai’s future design
The exterior of the all-new Sonata is long,
light and low. The high beltline allows for
a long, sleek roofline accented by the third
window. A mono-form side profile includes
flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai
signature chrome accent that spans the
length of the car. Normally, this type of trim
is only found around the windows. On the
new Sonata, this trim extends out from the
headlamps, juts up along the hood and
through the beltline. The face is bold with a
large powerful chrome grille and headlamps
that integrate precise details. Multi-spoke
wheels (16-, 17- or 18-inch) complete the
assertive stance.

The sophisticated look continues inside
where Hyundai has created an upscale
ambiance thanks to a flow-through center
console and instrument panel. These flowing
surfaces complement the exterior design and
wrap around the driver and passengers.
The Sonata rides on a 2,795mm wheelbase
which is just 65mm longer than the previous
iteration. At 4,820mm and 1,835mm, it is
also longer and wider than its predecessor
(by 20mm and 5mm, respectively) greatly
improving the interior cabin space but the
overall height of 1,470mm has been lowered
by 5mm without affecting headroom.
In Africa and Middle East, the Sonata will be
equipped with two powerful and fuel efficient
Theta II gasoline engines: Theta-II 2.4 and
2.0 engines.

The lighter weight Theta II engines with with an option of manual control through the range.In addition to the new fuel-efficient
a straightened air intake system, that allows SHIFTRONIC feature. engines and transmissions, the Sonata
the engine to inhale a larger volume of air, Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC feature features a number of other innovations which
put out more power and torque: the Theta-II by moving the gear selector into a separate contribute to lower operational costs.
2.4 is rated at 178ps and 23.3kg.m of torque gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling Nestled between the speedometer and
emits just 190g/km of CO2 while the Theta-II it rearward will shift the transmission up or tachometer, the “ECO” coach is a new feature
2.0 delivers 165ps and 20.2kg.m of torque, down sequentially, further enhancing driver designed to promote fuel-saving driving
further reducing CO2 to only 180g/km. control. The steering wheel-mounted paddle habits. In the manual transmission version,
Hyundai’s commitment to making the shifters are also available in the new Sonata. an icon on the LCD tripometer screen begins
Sonata extremely fuel efficient continues A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel to flash when the optimum gear shift point
with a six-speed automatic transmission with shows the gear being used. is reached. The automatic uses an “ECO”
SHIFTRONIC manual control or a standard Designed for transverse engine applications icon backlit by LEDs with either the red, white
six-speed manual transaxle. in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact or green LED lighting up in accordance with
Developed and manufactured entirely in- transmission puts Hyundai into an elite class driving behavior. Fuel savings in the range
house, Hyundai’s all-new six-speed automatic of auto manufacturers who have designed of 15 to 17 percent are attainable with the
A6MF1 transaxle helps the company meet their own proprietary six-speed automatic automatic “ECO” coach and 7 to 9 percent
its goals of improving fuel efficiency and transmissions. The strength of the design is with the manual.
reducing emissions. Shifts are silky-smooth its unique layout which makes it smaller, more Sonata features a state-of-the-art
compact and lighter than any other six-speed Alternator Management System (AMS) whose
transmission on the market today. circuitry monitors electrical loads and the
For the customer, the new six-speed delivers state of battery charge. During periods of
a performance edge. In this application, it helps low electrical loads and a full charge in the
brings a nine percent gain in fuel economy. battery, a clutch automatically disengages
The gearbox has no dipstick because it is filled the alternator thus reducing the load on the
with automatic transmission fluid that is good engine and lowering fuel consumption.
for the life of the vehicle under normal usage An advanced four-wheel independent
conditions, thereby reducing maintenance suspension system combines a supple ride
costs. with precise handling and steering response
Developed over a four-year period, this new for the new Sonata. Sonata uses MacPherson
six-speed automatic is 12.0kg lighter than strut front and multi-link rear suspension
the five-speed it replaces. It also is 40.6mm systems with increased travel for improved
shorter and considerably simpler, having wheel control and a smoother ride. All four
62 fewer parts, which is a key to increased wheels are controlled by coil springs, fade-
durability, lighter weight and lower cost. resistant gas-charged dampers and stabilizer
The addition of a sixth gear enables closer bars. The suspension has been optimized to
spacing between gear ratios providing a better keep the vehicle flat during corning and provide
balance of performance and fuel economy quick turn-in response. The rear suspension
while the wide overall gear ratio helps deliver uses aluminum components to reduce weight
strong acceleration. and improve suspension performance.
The gearbox has three planetary gear To meet the most stringent automotive
sets and a unique flat torque converter that safety and crash requirements, the Sonata
shortens the unit’s overall length by 12.0mm. is built with hot-stamped ultra high-strength
Four pinion differentials improve durability steel while featuring six standard airbags.
and further minimize size. In addition, safety has been upgraded
Another example of engineering ingenuity with Electronic Stability Program (optional)
is found in the design of the hydraulic including Hill-start Assist Control and Brake
pressure control unit. Slight manufacturing Assist System functions—an industry first in
deviations from one solenoid valve to the next this competitive segment.
often times cause fluctuation in the hydraulic In Korea, Hyundai started selling the new
pressure and affect shift precision and quality. Sonata manufactured in Ulsan Plant last
The transmission featured in the Sonata September. In overseas, Hyundai started
cleverly integrates adjustment screws in the production of the new Sonata at its Alabama
valves that enable each of the eight valves plant last December. In early 2011, production
to be calibrated at the factory. This feature and sales in China will also begin. Hyundai
ensures stable hydraulic pressure at any expects to sell 450,000 units annually in all
shift point which facilitates a high degree of markets (Korea and overseas combined)
precision and control needed to deliver fast, beginning from the year 2011.
smooth and precise shifts throughout the rpm


Reaching the
next Frontier in a
After Tucson’s successful long run, the challenge of the LM project
team was to conceive an even better C-class SUV than the already
great original


tarting with a clean slate, the LM To further broaden its appeal, Tucson
development team moved away from will get the Hyundai’s newest fuel-efficient
the two-box off-roader look in favor of engines and five-, six-speed manual
a sleeker, more reformed profile while aiming and six-speed automatic transmissions.
for a roomier cabin, extra storage capacity Powertrain availability will vary according
and fuel economy leadership. to region.
Hyundai’s new “fluidic” design language Customers in Africa and Middle East
finds confident expression in the sweeping, will be offered a choice of two thrifty and
gently curved lines of the Tucson. The clean-burning petrol engines: the Theta-
hexagonal grille previewed on the ix-onic II 2.4 rated at 177ps and 23.1kg.m of
concept at the 2009 Geneva Auto Salon moves torque which emits just 219 g/km of
into mass production on the Tucson/ix35, a CO2 (4WD AT) and the Theta-II 2.0
defining look that will serve to unify the family delivering 166ps and 20.1kg.m of torque, application of a two-stage Variable Intake
of future Hyundai products. To achieve the further reducing CO2 to 206g/km(2WD MT). System (VIS) which enables switching between
desired dynamic and sporty image, Tucson The all-new R 2.0 diesel engine is the long and short intake manifold resulting in
gets an aggressive belt line coupled with a cleanest among the lineup producing CO2 an across-the-board performance increase.
low-to-the-ground feel which is enhanced by emissions of just 174g/km (4WD MT). This To reduce internal friction, engineers have
the optional 225/55 R18 wheels. Aerodynamic diesel engine achieves 7.5 liter per 100km applied a Diamond-like-coating (DLC) to the
tweaks include the addition of a rear spoiler fuel economy with maximum power output of top surface of the valve tappets resulting
which aids fuel efficiency. 177ps and 40kg.m of torque(A/T). in improved fuel efficiency. Engineers also
The interior lines echo the dynamic flow Hyundai’s all new six-speed automatic expended considerable time and effort
of the sheet metal. For improved comfort, transmission will be available for all engines optimizing the oil pump pressure to achieve
designers have managed to carve out extra while five-speed manual is only available with an ideal balance between durability and fuel
legroom and headroom (whilst lowering the the Theta-II 2.0 and the six-speed manual is economy.
overall height of the vehicle). The feeling of mated only to Theta-II 2.0 and R 2.0. Over 500 prototype engines were built
spaciousness in the cabin is further enhanced Hyundai engineers have taken the World during the 42 month–long development
by the new dual-panel panoramic sunroof with Engine, the largest gasoline engine program period which encompassed a wide variety of
UV blocking. Rear seat passengers now get in the world, and created the lighter, more fuel performance and emissions tests, endurance
to share the enjoyment of a sunroof too. The efficient and cleaner-running Theta-II. as well as NVH, cooling and lubrication studies.
center panel can either tilt open or can open The 2.0-liter Theta-II has shed over 10kg Finally, the engine was installed in vehicles
completely by sliding up and over the rear from its previous iteration. For better fuel and subjected to exhaustive testing under all
panel. An anti-pinch system guards against efficiency and reduced NOx emissions, Theta-II imaginable environmental conditions.
injuries from trapping. gets Dual CVVT (intake and exhaust camshaft Hyundai’s all-new six-speed automatic
The Tucson rides on a 2,640mm wheelbase phaser) while Theta-I is equipped with only transaxle helps the company meet its goals
which is just 10mm longer than the previous intake CVVT. Major improvements of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2
iteration. At 4,410mm and 1,820mm, it is begin with the emissions. Shifts are silky-smooth
also longer and wider than its predecessor with an option of sporty-
(by 85mm and 20mm, respectively) greatly type, manual shifting
improving the interior cabin space but the through the
overall height of 1,665mm has been lowered Shiftronic
by 25mm without affecting headroom.
Greater travel in the front seat adjustment
gives more legroom and headroom for taller
drivers. The centre console box has been
enlarged to 6.2 liters (an increase of 3.4 liters)
for more storage and the centre armrest is
longer and higher for greater comfort. The
USB/Aux jack has been relocated to create
more storage space for personal music
players. In addition, the height of the rear
cargo screen has been raised by 71mm for
more storage plus a small storage binnacle
has been added in the rear cargo area.


which is also new to the Tucson.

Designed for transverse engine applications
in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact
transaxle puts Hyundai into an elite class of
auto manufacturers who have designed
their own proprietary 6-speed automatic
(after Toyota and a GM/Ford joint venture)
demonstrating Hyundai’s advanced powertrain
engineering capabilities.
The strength of the design is its totally
unique layout which makes it smaller, more
compact and lighter than any other 6-speed
on the market today.
For the customer, the new six-speed
promises a performance edge. In this
application, it delivers a 12.2 percent gain in
fuel economy (10.1km/l versus 9.0km/l) and
is 2.5 percent quicker in zero to 100km/h
acceleration times (7.8sec versus 8.0 sec). It

ratio helps deliver strong acceleration. luggage area gets extra soundproofing to
The gearbox has three planetary gearsets isolate exhaust sounds. Road noise has been
whose hallmark is simplicity of design and a minimized by improving stiffness in the front
unique flat torque converter which shortens and rear struts, rear trailing arm and the
the unit’s overall length by 12mm. Four pinion spring sheet.
differentials improve durability and further In a panic braking situation, the emergency
minimize size. flash signals are automatically triggered thus
Another example of engineering ingenuity reducing the risk of rear-end crashes. In the
is to be found in the design of the hydraulic unfortunate event of a rear-end collision,
pressure control unit. Because there are active headrests are triggered by the pressure
always slight manufacturing deviations from of the seat occupant’s weight on the backrest,
one solenoid valve to the next which cause the headrests automatically moving upwards
fluctuation in the hydraulic pressure and and forwards to help prevent injuries to head,
affect shift precision and quality, the transaxle neck and upper body.
features cleverly integrated adjustment screws In addition to 4WD capability (optional),
in the valves which enable each of the eight Tucson’s CUV credentials are strengthened
valves to be calibrated at the factory. with two new safety features: Hillstart Assist
This novel feature ensures stable hydraulic Control and Downhill Brake Control which
pressure at any shift point which facilitates a promote safer travel up and down steep
high degree of precision and control needed slopes.
to deliver ultra-fast, smooth and precise shifts For safer maneuvering in reverse gear, a
throughout the rpm range. rear-view camera has been added. Shifting
The multi-link rear suspension was adopted into reverse gear automatically turns on the
not only for its superior ride and handling rear-view camera which provides a wide-
characteristics but also because of its compact angle view of the rear on a 3.5-inch color LCD
design which minimizes intrusion into the built into the rear-view mirror thus reducing
cabin creating extra space for passengers and the risk of accidents. The rear-view mirror
cargo. Tried and true MacPherson struts are is autochromic which means it automatically
employed for the front suspension set-up. dims during night-time driving to reduce the
Particular attention has been paid to glare of the headlights from vehicles behind.
increasing the stiffness of the front side Side mirror housings have been modified
members which have been enlarged and to reduce wind noise and also feature an
straightened. Also, the center pillars serve integrated repeater lamp for improved
as the anchors of new ring structure which visibility. At the flick of a switch, the foldable
improves overall side structure stiffness while mirror housings dip inwards to reduce the
also creating more room for the door armrest overall width of the vehicle.
and seat. Innovations extend to the side glass
The entire body shell has been made stiffer weather-stripping which now features a water
and lighter thanks to its more extensive use dam. This not only enlarges the side glass
also delivers an 11 percent improvement in of ultra-high tensile strength steel which view but also safely channels rain water to
60km/h to 100km/h overtaking performance comprises 68.9 percent of the shell compared maximize visibility.
(4.0 sec versus 4.5 sec). to its predecessor’s 57.3 percent. Also, the use The Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Furthermore the unit is maintenance-free: of Tailor Welded Blanks has been expanded (HVAC) system has been upgraded with a
the gearbox is not equipped with a dipstick as on key structural members. TWB assemblies new blower and dual temperature controls
it is filled with an automatic transmission fluid combine steels of different thickness and for the driver and front passenger. Winter or
that is good for the life of the vehicle thereby grades using a sophisticated laser welding summer, the desired cabin temperature can
reducing maintenance costs. and stamping process achieving an optimal be reached quicker with the new air blower.
Developed over a four-year period, this new stiffness-to-weight ratio. TWBs reduce The new design draws on a mix of outside/
six-speed automatic is 12kg lighter than the body weight while enhancing crash energy inside air for faster cooling down and warming
five-speed it replaces. It also is 41mm shorter management. Compared to its predecessor’s up. The automatic control of the temperature
and considerably simpler having 62 fewer 407.9kg, the new body shell weighs just has been made more precise thanks to the
parts, which is a key to increased durability, 385.2kg, for an impressive weight-saving of use of new and improved sensors. A cluster
lighter weight and lower cost. 22.7kg. ionizer has also been included to combat the
When it comes to gearsets, more is Extensive work was done to isolate sounds build-up of mildew and fungus which cause
definitely better. The addition of a sixth gear and eliminate vibrations. Tucson is discernibly unpleasant musty odors. It generates ion
enables closer spacing between gear ratios quieter both at highway speeds and at engine plasma that ensures the HVAC system blows
providing a better balance of performance idle. Booming noise is reduced thanks to a the cleanest, freshest air throughout the life
and fuel economy while the wide overall gear sub-frame dynamic damper while the rear of the vehicle.

{Motorsports - F1}

Ferrari One-two in
Bahrain sets tone for

Bahrain brings out the best in the

red cars

{Motorsports - F1}

cuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s 2010 championship
got off to the best possible start as it secured
maximum points when, after 49 laps, Fernando
Alonso marked his race debut with the team by
zigzagging his F10 in salute to the pit wall, as he crossed
the line to take the chequered flag, the worthy winner of
the Bahrain Grand Prix. Equally happy was Felipe Massa,
in a fine second place on his return to racing. It had not
been as easy as it looked, because the Spaniard’s car
had required a rapid engine change in the morning, and
Felipe had to nurse his car through much of the race
with temperature problems.
Felipe started from second place on the front row, with
Fernando moving off the grid from third spot. As the
lights went out to signal the start of the season, Vettel
in the Red Bull led from pole and Fernando soon got
the better of Felipe to go second, making the most of
being on the clean side of the track as he dived inside
his team-mate. Behind the Brazilian came Rosberg -
Mercedes, Hamilton - McLaren, Schumacher - Mercedes,
Webber - Red Bull, Button - McLaren, Liuzzi – Force India
and Barrichello tenth for Williams. Chandok crashed out
in the HRT on lap 2 and Di Grassi’s Virgin was out one
lap later. By lap 4, Vettel led Fernando by 2.3s with Felipe
a further 1.9 behind, the Brazilian having a 2.8 lead over
The best battle in the early stages was Hamilton
chasing Rosberg for fourth place and, in his efforts to
catch Fernando, Felipe set the quickest lap of the race
so far on lap 9. On lap 12, it fell to Bruno Senna to have
the honour of making the first planned pit stop under the
non-refuelling rules. By lap fourteen, Vettel was pulling
away from the Ferrari men before Fernando pitted on
lap 16 at the same time as Rosberg, Webber, Button and
Liuzzi. One lap later, the race leader and Felipe came
into pit lane and when they were all back on track, the
order at the front was unchanged, with Vettel 3.5 ahead
of Fernando and Felipe almost four seconds down on his
team-mate. Behind them came Liuzzi and Barrichello,
yet to pit, Hamilton, Rosberg, Schumacher, Button and
Webber tenth. On lap 19 it was Felipe’s turn to set a
fastest lap and by lap 24, the two F10s were separated
by just 1.7. On lap 29, Alonso was the quickest man on
track as he began to close on Vettel. Judging from the
sound of the engine in the Red Bull, the German driver
was in some sort of difficulty and by lap 33 of the 49 lap
race, Fernando was right on his tail, taking the lead one
lap later and Felipe moving up to second. Lewis Hamilton
also got past the slowing Vettel and from then to the
flag, the podium positions were fixed. Behind the happy
three came, Vettel, Rosberg, Schumacher in the points
on his return in sixth place, then under the new points
system, Button, Webber, Liuzzi and Barrichello also score
as the table now goes down to tenth place.


Formula 1 60th
anniversary takes
to the track
to-be-repeated While Mansell savoured the experience
gathering of the of the formative years of Formula1™ other
stars and the cars champions were reunited with the cars in
that have defined which they achieved success. Scotland’s
the sport. From three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart
the oldest surviving drove the Matra-Ford MS80 in which he
champion Sir Jack won the 1969 world championship title,
Brabham – the 1959, Brazilian double champion Emerson Fittipaldi
1960 and 1966 rolled back the years at the wheel of the
title-winner, who has Lotus 72D in which he claimed the 1972
traveled from his championship crown, South Africa’s Jody
home in Australia – Scheckter returned to the cockpit of the
the greatest heroes in Ferrari 312 T4 in which he won the 1979
the sport are thrilling world championship and American legend
the crowds and Mario Andretti reveled in driving his 1978
enjoying the occasion title-winning Lotus 79.
as their sport salutes All 18 of the champions later moved to
them. the ‘Diamonds in the Desert’ pavilion in
For many of the which the cars are being displayed with
drivers the biggest images of some of the most unforgettable
thrill so far has been moments in the 60 year story of the FIA
the opportunity to Formula 1™ World Championship. Here they
take to the track in joined His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin
the historic cars that Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy
have been assembled Supreme Commander, together with Bernie
for the occasion.
Driving one of the
first bespoke Formula
1™ machines ever
built – the 1950
Ferrari 125 ‘Thinwall
Special’ – was 1992
world champion Nigel
Mansell, who was
absolutely delighted

egends of the FIA Formula 1™ World with his experience of the vintage machine.
Championship returned to the track The 1.5-litre V12 supercharged car
today in the first of two cavalcades generates more than 370 horsepower with
to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the none of the technical advances that have
world’s biggest annual sporting series. In defined the sport in the years that have
total 18 former world champions are present followed. “I am astonished by this car, it’s
at the 2010 Formula 1™ Gulf Air Bahrain amazing,” said Mansell.
Grand Prix and this morning many of them “My respect for the guys who used to
took to the track in landmark cars from the drive cars like this flat-out for three hours at
championship’s history. circuits like the Nürburgring with 170 corners
A total of 18 of the 20 surviving world per lap has gone through the roof. It’s a
champions have traveled to Bahrain in order seriously quick car even by modern standards
to mark this special anniversary in a never- but such a physical thing to drive.”


Chevrolet Supercars
As the first race of round 6 kicked off Tarek performance
Elgammal sped away in pole position, Raed which would
Raffii followed close behind in 2nd and eventually give
Mohammed Al Owais led the rest of the him a huge seven
pack in 3rd. However, it wasn’t long before second lead.
championship leader Fahad Al Musalam had Shaikh Hamad
sped from his 5th place starting position Bin Isa Al Khalifa
all the way to the front with Adbulaziz Al managed to claim
Yaeesh tailing him to take 2nd place on the 2nd and Al Owais
lap 2. Raffii struggled to hold on to 3rd as followed very
Elgammal’s fast pace and aggressive style close behind in 3rd. The two battled neck Owais involving turns 6 and 7 resulted in
forced him to focus on the rear view mirror and neck on the main straight but Shaikh him edging out Shaikh Hamad on the inner
rather than the back of Al Yaeesh’s Chevrolet. Hamad fended off all of Al Owais’s attempts corner of turn 8. The two continued to blister
Wild and erratic driving by Al Yaeesh to sneak in-front. The intense duel continued down the track almost side by side but
resulted in a collision with Al Musalam’s red as Shaikh Hamad skidded widely after going ultimately Al Owais would be victorious and
and white car, leading both to spin off deep into turn 19 too hard, but still managed to cross the finish line in 2nd.
into the run off area. Al Yaeesh lost a tyre blocked all of Al Owais’s efforts. Raed Raffii finished in 20:49:824, Al
and knocked into Al Musalam causing him Further down the track Mohammed Al Owais followed almost 10 seconds later
to skid further into the graveled area, from Faisal attempted to advance his 5th place with a time of 20:58.184 and Shaikh Hamad
where he could only watch in frustration position but Raed Charawi put in a solid finished in 20:59.683. Al Musalam remained
as the rest of the SC09 class passed his performance and kept him at bay. in 13th despite returning to the race after
position. Just as it looked as if Shaikh Hamad would his collision with Al Yaeesh, resulting
With the leaders tangled off track, Raed be able to keep an aggressive Al Owais in a disappointing performance for the
Raffii grabbed the lead and gave a flawless back in 3rd place, a strategic move by Al championship leader.

Ecclestone, president and CEO of Formula

One Management, to officially open the
Formula 1 Autograph sessions
display and cast their hand prints to make
a Hollywood-style ‘Walk of Fame’ to be
installed at the Bahrain International Circuit.
“It’s an amazing weekend, a lovely
experience,” said 1980 world champion,
Australia’s Alan Jones. “I flew here with
Jack Brabham and we had plenty to catch up
about, but it’s pretty extraordinary to get so
many of us here at one time. You’ll probably
never see so many of these people in one
place again, it’s a real coup for Bahrain.”
Jones’s predecessor as champion, South
Africa’s 1979 title-winner Jody Scheckter,
was delighted to have been able to take
the wheel of his old car and join in the
proceedings. “I’ve only driven the car twice
in the past ten years, once for a Nelson
Mandela charity event and once for Ferrari’s
60th anniversary,” he said.
“It’s really good to see so many of these
T he first day of Race Number One saw
racing legends and F1 Champions Mario
Andretti, Juan Manuel Fangio and Mika
posters, t shirts, caps, official programs
and other memorabilia. Force India’s Adrian
Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi gave visitors
guys here at one time. I came to the race Hakkinen provide a rare opportunity for fans another chance to meet and greet some
here in Bahrain two years ago, it’s really to meet and greet these motorsport heroes. of the talented drivers that make up this
impressive and the facilities are state-of-the- William drivers Rubens Barrichello and Nico year’s grid in the afternoon, where they also
art. I’m glad to come back and enjoy the Hulkenberg delighted fans with an autograph autographed a number of items for fans.
occasion.” session where they signed a selection of


Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup round 1

The Porsche series kicked off the support race activities following an aggressive battle which would continue throughout the remainder
a competitive practice session on 12th March followed by an exciting of the race. Edwards passed the Team Abu Dhabi driver briefly at turn
qualifying session in the morning of the 13th March. From the start 16, but couldn’t hold the lead as Massen reclaimed his 7th place on
of the race Rast broke away from the pack with Rosina following turn 18. The two continued their determined dogfight on the main
him closely as the two approached the high speed turn 1. Tandy and straight with Edward’s Porsche leading Massen by mere inches as the
J. Bleekemolen battled for 3rd, with Tandy edging out the Al Faisal two approached turn 1 neck and neck.
Lechner Racing driver after cutting on the inside of the first turn. Back at the front of the pack Seyffarth continued to drive J.
Too much speed into turn 1 saw Norbert Siedler spin out of control, Bleekemolen hard, even going off track on the straight following turn
missing Niall Breen by mere inches as the Schnabl Engineering 13 in an attempt to edge out the Al Faisal Lechner Racing driver.
Team Parker Racing driver veered to avoid a collision. This near However, a cool headed Bleekemolen blistered around the circuit
miss allowed most of the pack to speed off, while the straggling cars with flawless technique, leaving no gap or mistake for Seyffarth to
maneuvered their way around the stationary car loosing precious capitalize on. Then on lap 7 a wide turn leaves room for Seyffarth to
seconds in the process. Following his driving miscalculation, Siedler squeeze past Bleekemolen, resulting in switch of positions.
put in an aggressive performance in lap 2, establishing the fastest lap Sean Edwards and Sascha Massen found themselves side by side
of the race with a time of 2:32.658. once again on lap 9 as they fought for 7th place. Some tight turns
On lap 2 Rast in 1st and Rosina in 2nd in a showcase of talented followed by high acceleration out of turn 22 resulted in Edwards
driving forged ahead, creating a significant gap between them and pulling away from Massen on the main straight, claiming 8th place
the rest of the competitors. Since the beginning of the race Jan with only 1 lap to go.
Seyffarth of Veltins MRS Racing had been improving his 14th starting After a perfect first race of the season Rast crossed the finish
position and now was bumper to bumper with J. Bleekemolen in an line in 1st, quickly followed by Rosina in 2nd. Seyffarth managed
attempt to claim 4th for himself. to subdue Bleekemolen to claim 3rd for himself, trailing the other
Sascha Massen and Sean Edwards dueled for 7th place on lap 3 in podium finishers by 2.536 seconds.

Watch all the best car videos


Other forms of
A short journey on a luxury yacht brings out
the wannabe in our editor

he joy of driving lot’s of fancy cars travelling from Quriyat to Marina Bandar
year-in and year-out can sometimes ar’Rowda, one point was etched very firmly
overshadow the potential of other in my mind – you haven’t become anything in
forms of transport to impart fun. A long time life till you could afford to buy and maintain
ago it became apparent to your’s truly that a 7 million Rial yacht with a permanent crew
while cars were mainstream fun, sometimes of 5. It wasn’t as if I ran out of the Marina
affordable in the form of a used Volkswagen shouting out my version of Eureka, but the
Beetle, sometimes out of my mind and reach essence of how the super-rich live is definitely
in the guise of a Bentley Arnage, the genre at the heart of owning a yacht.
was hogging most of my mindspace over As for the rest of us, a trip on the marine
other equally enjoyable forms of non-human beauty is almost as magical and rewarding.
movement. The thrum of the twin diesel engines serves as
Take airline travel. Despite all its much- a background symphony to the wind blowing
publicised problems, something about it gets through your hair as you watch the powerful
the old heart pumping. Talk about A380s wake thrown out by the propellors.
and 787s and I can’t wait till I make my first With staterooms, jacuzzi, air-conditioned
journey in them. Even as I have trouble falling lounge and accommodation for guests and
asleep on the flight, I can still draw pleasure at crew and a range of 500 plus nautical miles,
the advances in in-flight entertainment or the the privileged few can set sail to a sense of
flight information map and its latest 3D twist. complete freedom, complete with a giant LCD
But I draw the line at in-flight telephony. screen to keep your family entertained if the
Other than rocket travel, I have been view of the sea outside gets too monotonous.
fortunate enough to travel on or in most forms If you really want to set yourself a goal of
of vehicles. Hot air balloons, helicopters, having reached ‘there’ this is it.
cruise liners, autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws, After this trip further glimmers of
bicycles, motor launches, whalers... I’ve lost understanding come through. Like the
track already. rationale that governs the purchase of cars
One special occasion comes to mind when like the Phantom, Maybach and Continental.
as part of a car launch event in Dubai, the Perhaps even the raison-d’etre for the Bugatti
invited guests were treated to a session with Veyron. To mere mortals, buying large
sail-equipped boards that could be ‘sailed’, mansions makes sense because of real estate
so to speak, across the flat land near the values and the finite nature of living space. It
endurance village. It involved blind faith in is the accoutrement of luxury in the guise of
the design of the flimsy contraption and even high value buys like yachts and super luxury
Raj Warrior is editor of Automan and has more trust in the handful of instructions given cars that needs a first hand revelation.
been in the thick of the Automotive journalism before we set off, but in 5 minutes most of us This brings me back to the topic of the types
field from the past 15 years. were doing graceful runs across the ground of transportation left to conquer, in a manner
and most of us even managed to finish the of speaking. Like I noted before, rocket travel
Want to comment or have your say? Email afternoon without crashing. is a must-do, but until car companies start
at raj@alroya.net. Identify yourself or your However, the other day I had an opportunity selling a lot more moon buggies, it seems
message will be trashed and your id blocked to travel in the private yacht of one of our even more remote than my chances of buying
local dignitaries as part of an event. While a yacht.