6 incoming “enthusiast-only” cars

The car enthusiast in India never had it so good. From the budget segments that have the likes of the Mahindra Thar  and the Fiat Punto Abarth, to the supercar segment with the likes of the Ferraris and the Lamborghinis, there’s one for everyone. The coming few weeks, right up to the Auto Expo promises to be even more exciting. How does Mustang sound, or even the Beetle? That’s right, plenty of enthusiast-only cars are being prepped for India launches. We’ll take you on a short drive to figure out what’s coming.

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Bookings for the original “people’s car” is already on, and the Volkswagen Beetle will soon be launched in India. The second generation of the “new” Beetle shares the PQ35 platform with the Volkswagen Jetta sedan. Unlike the Jetta, which is CKD assembled in India, the Beetle will come in as a CBU. A high price tag close to 30 lakh rupees coVuld be the result.

The Beetle will be a brand builder for Volkswagen, a company that’s on the ropes following the Dieselgate scandal. Yes, VeeDub can really do with some brand building. The car sold here will use the 1.4 liter TSI turbo petrol motor with 147 Bhp-250 Nm on tap. A 7 speed twin clutch DSG automatic gearbox will be standard. The car will be up against the Fiat 500 Abarth and the Mini Coopers.

Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 15

The ‘Stang will soon be in India, following Ford’s game changing move to build the iconic pony car in right-hand-drive guise. The Ford Mustang sold here is likely to pack in a 5.0 liter V8 naturally aspirated petrol engine with 435 Bhp- 542 Nm on tap. A 6 speed automatic gearbox driving the rear wheels is expected to come standard. So, it looks like India will get the GT version.

In its 6th generation, the Mustang has seen an extensive redesign, with new mechanical components, interiors and features. Aimed at enthusiasts who love the Blue Oval, the Mustang is being shipped in as a CBU to create a halo around the Ford brand. Expect a price of 50 lakh rupees, say Ford dealers in India. We really hope that number isn’t mere speculation. Still want to buy that Audi or that Mercedes Benz?

Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R

The rich and the famous car nuts of India already own the Godzilla car. Yes, Sachin Tendulkar has one and so does Gautam Singhania. And you can have one too, for about 2 crore rupees. The Japanese automaker is expected to soon bring the GT-R into India, as a completely built unit aimed at burnishing the Nissan brand. Sold as an everyday supercar that can shame Ferraris and Lamborghinis, the GT-R has some real performance under the hood.

A 3.8 liter twin turbo V6 petrol engine drives all four wheels of the car. This motor makes 545 Bhp-627 Nm, and transmits torque through a 6 speed, twin clutch automatic gearbox. Paddle shifters are standard fare. The party trick? Nissan’s R-Start system that gives this car a 0-100 Kph run of just 2.9 seconds. Top speed is a considerable 311 Kph.

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon SUV 1

No more wrangling, says a resurgent Fiat India, with Kevin Flynn at the helm. The man’s been taking Fiat to its roots, of making honest, solidly built cars with some thrills on offer. The Jeep brand will be his next big push for India. Bringing Jeep into India will be the legendary Wrangler, an off roader that’s more cult than car.

Turbo diesel lovers may love the 2.8 liter-4 cylinder motor (197 Bhp-460 Nm) mated to a 5 speed automatic gearbox. 4X4? Check. CBU import could make the Wrangler sit at about 30-35 lakh rupees. That’s a lot of money, but remember, this off roader’s purely a brand builder that’s seeking the enthusiast rupee.

Tata Bolt Sport

Tata Bolt Sport Front

Why’s the Bolt Sport here? Because it’s Tata Motors’ most powerful hatchback ever, with 120 Bhp-170 Nm outputs from the 1.2 liter REVOTRON turbo petrol engine.  Tata Motors has been a slow poke. Yes, Mahindra just beat Tata to the post yet again by launching the XUV500 Automatic ahead of the Hexa. So, the Bolt Sport is as much an image booster as it’s an affordable hot hatch.

The Bolt Sport will also mark Tata Motors’ entry into the world of sporty cars, or performance sub-brand if you will. Apart from the added power and torque, stiffer suspension that makes the car handle sharper and sit lower is another change. A body kit and refreshed interiors will differentiate the sporty Bolt from the regular Bolt. Already delayed, an Auto Expo 2016 launch is likely. A price tag of under 8 lakhs should make the wait worth it.

Volkswagen Polo GTI

Volkswagen Polo GTI

The newly launched Fiat Punto Abarth makes the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI look tame. Enter the Polo GTI. A high performance version of the Polo, aimed at hitting the 0-100 Kph mark in under 7 seconds, the GTI will demolish the Punto Abarth. A 1.8 liter TSI turbo petrol engine borrowed from the Octavia is likely to make 180 Bhp-250/320 Nm on the Polo GTI.

A 7 speed twin clutch automatic or a 6 speed manual transmission accompanies this motor. A top speed of 240 Kph is possible with these figures, but it remains to be seen if VW would detune the car for Indian conditions. The spanner in the works could be the CBU import planned for this car, which could push price beyond the 20 lakh rupee number.