I know, we are a bit late with this. But photos are timeless and thus we aren’t actually late, rather just strategically reprioritising this story and providing you with some stunning images shot throughout 2021 by our photographers Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi.
A new temple of speed deserved something fancy and that’s how we landed up with this photograph of the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG going flat out on a banked section at the NATRAX test facility in Indore. 278kmph- that’s how fast Vikrant went while test driving the car at the NATRAX high-speed test track.
After a lengthy hiatus, Tata revived the Safari moniker, last year, for its new flagship three-row SUV. While it might be quite a bit different from the car it has succeeded in, the new Safari has held its own in the three-row SUV battle to become a formidable force for the Indian automaker. At the time of this story, Tata had just launched the Safari Dark Edition.
One of the stars at our track day was this car being driven by Sagar for our 2021 edition. It’s a race-prepped Volkswagen Polo running a potent petrol engine, slick tyres and emitting an exhaust note guaranteed to revive the most damaged of race cars. It’s a part of VW’s arrive and drive programme where you can show up, pay the fees and knockout the laps on the track.
We mostly do new cars but are more than ready to make an exception when it comes to something as iconic as the first-generation Maruti 800. It might be a David in front of today’s Goliath-like cars but it changed the very course of modern Indian motoring and set the standard for what we expect from all our cars today.
Volkswagen’s flagship SUV for India finally made a comeback in the BS6 era and this time around with new tech and a rather delicious petrol engine. It’s lost none of its charms and the cruising ability gives you a peek into what it is like to drive a global Volkswagen product. The car was launched in India in late 2021.
2020 saw the rebirth of two SUV heavyweights to the market. One was the second-generation Hyundai Creta and the other is the second-generation Mahindra Thar. Over one year both have established their place in the hierarchy as the most sought after mid-D-SUV and ‘old-school on the outside and modern vehicle on the inside’ respectively.
Okay, we might have jumped this one a little ahead but the Kia Sonet has been quite phenomenal in the sub-four SUV segment since its launch in late 2020. We used it as a long-term car for almost a year and it didn’t lose a step despite the rather strong treatment we meted out of it throughout the long term relationship. Here it is being tested for our Living with e-property.
We had a full-fledged track outing at the new NATRAX facility and in that outing took the third generation i20 in turbo iMT-guise around their handling circuit. Naturally, if you have a hot hatchback and tarmac as smooth silk, going sideways into a tight corner for the camera is not just an option but an absolute must!
Motoring history’s most famous small car is now 63 years old! Yes, in its modern iteration it is much larger and more powerful than the original car but still has all the hallmarks that made the Mini famous. Here we have got behind the wheel of the rather flamboyant convertible version painted in a shade yellow(ish) green.
Renault’s redemption in India has been this car in the pictures, the Kiger. With its funky French design, fun to use 1.0-litre turbo petrol mated to a CVT, it’s brought Renault quite strongly into the compact sub-4 SUV game over the last year. Here’s it’s just about to mount the kerbs at the high-speed test track at NATRAX.
Tata returned to the premium B-hatchback segment with the Altroz at the start of 2020. Just over a year later, Tata decided to spruce up the motivation line up by adding a turbo petrol engine for their premium hatchback. The 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and produces 108bhp and 140Nm.
We wrap up our story with some potent German engineering in the guise of the Audi S5. It’s low, long, makes all kinds of crackles and pops when you floor the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol. As Sagar put it in his first drive review, it’s the car that, despite the potent numbers, has good road manners and four doors!
Photography: Kapil Angane & Kaustubh Gandhi