Category Archives: Automobiles

Online bookings begin for new Skoda Octavia in India

Online bookings for the recently launched Skoda Octavia in India have commenced, making it one of the first of its kind.

Customers can book their car for Rs 5,000 with an option of 100 per cent money back in case of a cancellation. The booking amount can be paid online through net banking, debit card or credit card. The remaining amount can be paid at the respective Skoda dealership. To book your Skoda Octavia online, click here


“Online media is one of the most progressive mediums  of communication attracting audience of all age groups. In fact, a large part of our prospective customers search for Skoda cars online and determine their choice. With an aim of providing utmost convenience to our customers, we are happy to commence the online booking engine for the new Skoda Octavia and for all our other brands. Octavia has been the heart of Skoda and will surely captivate the hearts and minds of people in India,” said Pawel Szuflak, director, Skoda India.

The new Octavia starts at Rs 13.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the 1.4 TSI Active. The 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI are the other two engine options. The online booking option is available pan-India for the Octavia and the entire Skoda line.


Blazingly Fast 90-Second Tesla Battery Swap System Revealed: The Future of Electric Cars? [VIDEO]

Electric car maker Tesla Motors unveiled a new swappable battery for its vehicles at an event near Los Angeles Thursday Night.

The demonstration before hundreds of electric car owners showed how drivers can swap out a drained battery in their Model S cars in as little as 90 seconds — much quicker than filling up a traditional car with fuel, GigaOM reports.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company plans to offer battery swap services at select Supercharger stations by as early as the end of 2013. The service will first be rolled out in California, with additional sites added between Boston and Washington D.C. soon after, Forbes reports.

Battery swaps will be fully automated, according to Forbes. A machine will disconnect your drained battery and replace it with a fully-charged one without the driver ever needing to leave the car, according to Forbes.

Musk said the swap will cost about the same as 15 gallons of gas — but the service is much quicker and more convenient than filling up at the pump, he said.

One small catch: If you receive a battery pack that’s newer than the one you swapped out you will be billed for the difference, through the cost is yet to be announced.

Alternatively, you can make retrieve the old pack on a return trip, but you will still be charged for a “transport fee.”

The new tech promises to boost the range of the Tesla Model S Roadster well beyond the 265 miles promised for a single charge, Daily Tech reports.


James Bond’s Lotus Esprit for sale!

Lotus EspritYou will probably want to suddenly find many millions of pounds and an ingenious way of restraining an enthusiastic Richard Hammond, because we have some Very Good News: the ACTUAL underwater Lotus Esprit used in 007 flick The Spy Who Loved Me is coming up for auction.

We’ll give all you Bond fanboys a moment to calm down.

It is of course, Hammond’s favourite Bond car, and for good reason too; the Esprit is one of the most recognisable Bond motors, second only to the DB5. This one is the actual car used solely for the underwater scenes, and is thus an elaborate submarine dressed up in that lovely Lotus body.

Known as ‘wet nellie’ on the set, it was built by Perry Oceanographic in Florida and driven in the film by retired US Navy SEAL Don Griffin. And he had quite a task – it was powered by motorised propellers through levered steering mechanisms. At the time, we’re told the car cost over $100,000 to build – equivalent to $500,000 today (around £330k).

After its stint in Bond, it was shipped to New York and kept in a storage facility that was eventually auctioned off ‘blind’. Imagine the surprise then, when the new owners whipped off the blankets from the Lotus and discovered Bond’s submarine. Some squeaking may have occurred.

Naturally, you’ll be wanting a piece of this, not least because it’s a very special bit of kit. We even built one ourselves; it was good enough to avoid losing Richard Hammond to the seas. As mentioned though, bring your big wallet: the DB5 used by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Thunderball sold for a whopping £2.9 million a few years back.

It’s being offered by RM Auctions and will go on sale between 8-9 September. A good week for movie cars, right? First we saw Ferris Bueller’s actual Ferrari replica, and now we have James Bond’s actual Lotus submarine. You lot really are spoiled…


From Top Gear: Lexus LS 600h Review

Lexus LS600h

Twenty years ago, the Lexus LS put the wind up the Mercedes S-Class, helping to launch Toyota’s posh division with a bang. Sadly, its cars’ competitiveness has been declining ever since.

This heavy facelift does little to turn the tide, despite the fact it’s a thorough re-engineering that stretches right down to the methods used to weld the chassis together. No stone has been left unturned. The steering wheel is smaller, the steering column has more adjustment. The wheelarches have a new type of sound insulation. Seat cushions are 20mm thicker. The climate control uses infrared sensors to measure occupants’ body temperature and adjust accordingly. Even the analogue clock hasn’t been forgotten – it’s now automatically controlled via GPS. Truly obsessive.

This much we expect from Lexus. The LS’s newfound style is a welcome surprise, though, particularly the ‘spindle’ grille that’s becoming a Lexus signature. It’s particularly striking in new F-Sport trim, which gets big wheels, Brembo brakes, lowered ride height and even a Torsen rear diff. Sadly, you can’t get it on the £100k hybrid.

For several years, this petrol-electric variant has been the only model on offer in the UK, but sales have tumbled, so the plain V8 petrol is being reintroduced, lowering the entry price by £20,000.

Saving the cash gets you the better car. The hybrid is immaculately refined in city driving, but the E-CVT transmission is inept, and it only manages 32.8mpg. Why so inefficient? And what’s happened to the concept of downsizing? A hybrid using such an enormous engine seems ridiculous – a 44mpg A8 hybrid has a 2.0-litre four-pot, remember.

Four-wheel drive is a boon, the over-light and disconnected driving experience does come with a decent ride, plus the Lexus is staggeringly quiet when the CVT isn’t flogging the engine to death, while the rear of this stretched variant is palatial. But it’s not good enough. Today’s S-Class beats it. Tomorrow’s will knock it for six. Richard Aucock

Richard Aucock

The numbers
4969cc, V8, 4WD, 389bhp, 383lb ft, 32.8mpg, 199g/km CO2, 0-62 in 6.1secs, 155mph, 2370kg

The verdict
Hybrid is hopeless here. Save yourself £25k and get the LS F-Sport. Better still, a diesel S-Class


From Top-Gear: Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review

Mercedes-Benz G-Class 6×6 driven


Mercedes G-Class 6x6 driven

Up until now, the best chance you’d have to get to drive this monster 6×6 AMG would be to join the Australian army, which signed a contract with Daimler in 2008 to procure 2,100 of these unstoppable desert chasers. But now Mercedes has decided – rather brilliantly – to make a civilian version, ready to order by millionaires before the end of 2013.

From the original military blueprint, it keeps six driven wheels, an off-road low-range ratio in the transfer case, portal axles, five differential locks and a tyre-inflation control system that allows the pressure in the 37-inch tyres to be adjusted in record time, on the move.

But once you climb into the cabin, there’s a much less utilitarian bent. Four heated and ventilated leather armchairs, a leather-finished dash with contrast stitching, carbon-fibre trim and Alcantara slathered on the roof headlining and pillars. Pure AMG opulence. And the weirdness doesn’t end there. Once you’ve got over the sheer size of the 6×6, it’s worth noting the gigantic carbon wheelarch extensions and a pickup load area featuring an exclusive bamboo lining. Normal, this thing is not.

Did we mention it was big? At 5.85m long and 2.3m tall, it’s positively huge. And fast. With the G63’s 540bhp, 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8, the G63 AMG 6×6 can hit 62mph in seven seconds. And it does so with no hesitation, the 561lb ft being split in 30/40/30 (front, mid and rear axles) with the help of the familiar 7spd dual-clutch ‘box. It just stomps its power to the road. Or whatever surface you happen to be on.

Ok, so the strangest product AMG has ever engineered was likely never supposed to corner like a sports car, but its relative agility is mind-blowing, especially considering that, at 3.85 tonnes, it’s a VW Golf heavier than the already mighty G63 AMG.

More than that, it just will not be stopped. By anything. It has axle articulation that would make a Land Rover wince, manages 460mm of ground clearance and has a diving – sorry, fording – depth of a solid metre, 40cm more than the bodystyle it has been derived from. You can take it as read that absolute traction is never an issue, and even if you do begin to slip, you just drop the tyre pressures – independently for each axle, I might add – via switches mounted on the overhead console.

It’s the best big boy’s toy ever invented. Not a cheap one, though, at something over €300,000. But be honest, can you think of a better way to get your off-road kicks?

5461cc, V8, 6WD, 540bhp, 561lb ft, 13.4mpg, 0-62mph in 7.0secs, 100mph, 3850kg




Mercedes SLS AMG successor teased in semi-official spy photos

Mercedes has apparently released a handful of official “spy photos” of the SLS AMG successor.

 Mercedes SLS AMG successor teased in semi-official spy photos

Reportedly codenamed the C190, the prototype is heavily camouflaged but appears to be heavily influenced by the SLS. Notable styling highlights include a long hood, conventional doors and a sporty rear end with a dual exhaust system.

Engine options remain unconfirmed but previous reports have indicated the model could be powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that develops approximately 485 HP (357 kW). There have also been rumors about a range-topping Black Series variant which could produce as much as 585 HP (430 kW).

The sports car, which was previously known as the SLC and “baby SLS,” is expected to be launched in 2015 and cost roughly €109,000 ($142,920 / £92,970).


AutoTech Update: Aston reveals new Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Need a moment to yourself? Then let us give you a moment to yourself. This is the new Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, and as you can see, it’s a rather stunning bit of machinery.

And it appears Aston has been rather busy of late, what with this new Vanquish Volante arriving just moments after the Fastest Production Aston Ever (that’ll be the new V12 Vantage S) and the roofless CC100 Speedster concept. TG reckons AM engineers will need some tea, a biscuit, and a nice lie down after all this activity…

See more pics of the new Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

So, this new Vanquish Volante. It’s powered by the same 6.0-litre ‘AM11′ V12 as the Vanquish coupe, here producing an identical 565bhp and 457lb ft of torque, driving the rear wheels and coupled up to a ‘Touchtronic 2′ six-speed automatic gearbox. Incidentally, that peak horsepower output comes at 6,750rpm, while the full slug of torque is delivered a little lower down, at 5,500rpm.

As such, the Vanquish Volante will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds (two tenths slower than the Vanquish coupe) and rock on to a top speed of 183mph. Which is all fine and dandy, but more importantly, the triple-skinned lightweight fabric roof will fold in just 14 seconds, sitting beneath a tonneau and deck lid that have both been aerodynamically tuned for performance. Also, it looks really nice.

We’re told that every panel on the VV is made from carbon fibre (a first for a convertible Aston Martin), clothing the fourth generation of Aston’s VH bonded aluminium structure underneath, which – in this iteration – is 14 per cent stiffer than the old DBS Volante. There are new spring and damper settings, naturally, and a plethora of driver aids including stability control, ‘positive torque control’ and adaptive damping. The latter gets three settings: normal, sport and track, each corresponding to an increase in the level of harassment your hairstyle will suffer.

Aston has fitted 398mm Brembo carbon ceramic brakes up front, and 360mm discs at the back; they’re lighter than conventional brakes, and should prove more resistant to fade.

Prices start at £199,995, and the first deliveries will hit the UK at the end of 2013. Have a click through the pictures and let us know what you think of the new Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. Pretty young thing, isn’t it?


Huawei reportedly ‘open’ to acquiring Nokia

Huawei would consider snapping
up Nokia, which could help it boost its smartphone gains in Europe and the U.S., a company executive said on Tuesday.

According to the Financial Times
of London (paywall), Richard Yu,
chairman of Huawei’s consumer
business group, said at the launch of its latest smartphone offering, the Ascend P6, in London: “We are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia.”

“We are open minded,” Yu told
reporters. Nokia would have to be a willing participant in a buyout
discussion, but its remains mum on whether or not its even in discussions with Huawei, or any other company for that matter.
A Nokia spokesperson said the
company “does not comment on
market speculation.”

Or, should Huawei consider a
hostile takeover, it could bypass
the need for the Chinese phone
maker to deal with the pesky problem of Nokia’s stubborn management. Nokia shareholders are getting twitchy over the company’s Windows Phone
strategy — ergo, it’s entire strategy moving forward. If Huawei goes straight to Nokia shareholders, they could take the offer and run while the Finnish phone maker is still afloat.

Currently, Huawei has a burgeoning base of users in China, taking the third slot in the Chinese volume shipment space behind Samsung and Apple, but it wants to move away from feature
phones into the smartphone space.

And no better candidate than ailing smartphone maker Nokia, which has its range of high-quality Lumia smartphones that just aren’t selling as well as they could be.

Based on comments to the London-based publication, Yu hinted that should Nokia succumb to a buyout deal, Huawei might ditch Windows Phone altogether in favor of “free” Android.

It comes after at least a year of
speculation on who might buy
Nokia. From Intel to Microsoft,
even Lenovo at one point, based
on comments made by Nokia chief
executive Stephen Elop that he is
sticking to his guns, at least with
its Windows Phone strategy.

Whether or not that extends to being bailed out by another company remains unclear.

Shares in Nokia ($NOK ) rose by as
much as 11 percent on the news,
according to Barrons.

BlackBerry ( $BBRY) was also up
by 4 percent on the news, considering the firm has yet to pick itself up from the floor of the boxing ring, after having ten bells kicked out of it by the rival smartphone market, and could
also be a suitable acquisition
target for Huawei.

This story originally appeared as
“Huawei ‘considering’ Nokia
acquisition: report ” on ZDNet.

2014 Jaguar XF features new diesel engine

image for '2014 Jaguar XF features new diesel engine'

British car manufacturer Jaguar has unveiled its 2014 XF Saloon and Sportbrake models, both of which feature the company’s new 161bhp, four-cylinder, 2.2-litre diesel, ECO2 engine.

Jaguar claims that the new engine adds ‘real-world efficiency’ to the XF range ‘without compromising on the luxury, performance and refinement expected of a Jaguar saloon.

The company’s new 2.2-litre ECO2 engine, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, is offered in combination with Jaguar’s Intelligent Stop/Start system, which the company says enables the MY14 XF model to deliver greater performance, reduced emissions and improved fuel consumption.

Thanks to its new engine, Jaguar has said that the MY14 XF model reduces emissions figures by 6g/km of CO2 over the 2013 Jaguar XF, to take the figure down to 129g/km of CO2, in addition to achieving a more frugal 57.7mpg.

The 2014 Jaguar XF is, according to Jaguar, able to complete the 0-62mph sprint in around 10.5 seconds, while also able to hit a top speed of 130mph.

click here to view source