At this year’s CarWale Track Day, we had another motley crew ranging from small homebred hatchbacks, a couple of family sedans and sub-four metre SUVs, to a fire breathing racecar, an ultimate super saloon and a cheeky yet powerful convertible from Affalterbach. These road going cars were pushed to the limits through 3.2 kilometres of blistering tarmac at MMRT and we timed them against the clock with Ameya Dandekar at helm, to see how they fare on a thoroughbred race track. At the end of the day, the results were somewhat surprising but not unbelievable at all.
Mahindra XUV300 – 2min 22.08sec
The XUV300 petrol was the slowest of the lot. But that doesn’t mean it was a slouch. Powered by a 110bhp 1.2-litre motor, the newest entrant in the SUV segment remained stable around high speed corners of the race track without creating a fuss. However, its lap time was severely hampered by the overly intrusive electronics.
Tata Nexon – 2min 19.59sec
More than three seconds quicker than XUV300, the Nexon was a lot of fun to hoon around the racetrack. It managed a top speed of 132.22kmph which is almost 2kmph quicker than last year. It also went around C1 carrying a speed of 110kmph while on the apex at C7 and C10, it did 92.52kmph and 53.74kmph, respectively.
Maruti Suzuki Swift – 2min 18.78sec
The 2019 Indian Car of the Year was not only quick but also easy to drive around MMRT. It recorded a time of 2min 18.78sec thanks to its light weight and precise handling. Tipping the scale at 880kg, the Swift is almost 171kg lighter than the JTP. And with 82bhp on the hot tarmac, the Swift clocked a top speed of 131.61kmph with 110.97kmph through the exit of C1.
Tata Tiago JTP – 2min 18.58sec
The JTP treatment has transformed this Tata’s small hatchback into an in-your-face pocket-rocket. With almost 40 per cent more horsepower over the standard car, the Tiago JTP puts out 112bhp from its three-cylinders. It crossed the line in 2min 18.58sec while hitting a respectable top speed of 139.87kmph. However, it was plagued with grip issues, especially when powering out of corners, and in the end it was only fractionally quicker than the Swift.
Skoda Octavia – 2min 13.87sec
So we drove down to Chennai in the Skoda Octavia and the Czech sedan not only proved to be an efficient mile muncher but was extremely comfortable too. Meanwhile, on the track, its two-litre engine had abundant torque as it finished with a best time of 2min 13.87sec. It also finished with a higher top speed of 146.68kmph compared to the Civic. But even with the butter-smooth DSG automatic transmission, it was slower than the Civic by half a second mainly due to its soft suspension set up.
Honda Civic – 2min 13.34sec
Marking its comeback to the Indian market, the Honda Civic had a lot to prove and it didn’t disappoint at all. A fantastic chassis and pointy front-end helped the Civic zip past the finish line with a time of 2min 13.34sec. Although its top speed was only 140kmph, the Japanese sedan managed to carry more exit speed out of C1 than the Octavia. The well balanced suspension set-up also worked in its favour.
Volkswagen Vento TC4 – 1min 58.30sec
Moving on to the big guns. First up, we have the Volkswagen Vento TC4; the hardcore touring-spec race car that’s loud (very, very loud), ferocious, unforgiving and a complete maniac on the track. The 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-charged motor allowed for an output of 240bhp. It posted a lap time of 1min 58.30sec and when it was in action it made us feel every clank and gearshift like a legit race car.
Mercedes-AMG E63S – 1.57.37 seconds
The Mercedes-AMG E63S is basically a luxury family saloon that went to Fight Club. It can easily be provoked to pack a hefty punch or two in the stomach and can just as easily be brought back to its calm demeanor. Under the muscular hood sits a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 hand-made by the mad men at Affalterbach and pushes out 612bhp and 850Nm. That’s two and a half times more than the Indian Touring Car category or in simpler terms more than seven times the power output of the Swift. What’s more, it can carry four in utmost comfort and sounds addictive too.
Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster – 1.56.90 seconds
Under the hood of the AMG GT Roadster is the same 4.0-litre V8 as the E63, but this gorgeous drop-top is a different beast altogether. If the performance of the GT R is anything to go by (it did a similar time last year), the Roadster’s top speed of 188kmph isn’t surprising at all. Unlike the Beast of Green Hell, the GT Roadster was trying to put its tail out at every possible occasion leaving a wide grin on our faces every single time.