Snapshot – There are cars, and then there are legendary cars. The Indian car market is now liberalized and is a far cry from the pre-1990 days when variety in the car market was akin to choosing a colour on the Ford Model T. Now though, the Indian car market is one of most vibrant places in the world, with the variety simply staggering. Among the scores of car models that come and go in what is an extremely value conscious market, there have been a few cars in India that be can rightfully be called modern day legends, ones that you can actually walk to a showroom and buy today. CarToq rounds up eight such cars for you.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
The Maruti Suzuki Gypsy has been around in India since 1985. This gives the car a near 3 decade production run and Maruti Suzuki isn’t about to retire this off roader anytime soon given the steady order from the country’s military and para-military forces. Along the years, the Gypsy has seen many mechanical upgrades and the latest iteration of the SUV uses a 1.3 liter petrol engine that is good for 80 Bhp-100 Nm. Armed with a 5 speed manual gearbox and a four wheel drive system with high and low ranges, the leaf spring suspension equipped Gypsy is a hardy machine. Reliable to a fault and as nimble as a mountain goat when the going gets rough, the Gypsy starts from 5.79 lakh rupees ex-showroom Delhi, making it the least priced modern day legend cars in India.
Mahindra Thar CRDe
In some way or the other, the Mahindra Thar CRDe resurrects the CJ5 (Civilian Jeep) and with that, the classic Jeep lines that are well, almost immortal. The Mahindra Thar CRDe is a modern day equivalent of the CJ5 and now comes with modern underpinnings. The Thar CRDe is a Mahindra Bolero and Scorpio in disguise, from the ladder frame platform to the 2.5 liter NEF CRDe turbo diesel engine (105 Bhp-247 Nm). The Thar is designed to be a competent vehicle off the road and a blast to drive on the road, replete with independent suspension up front and a leaf sprung rear. A four wheel drive system is standard on the Thar CRDe and this SUV is priced at 7.37 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi.
Fiat Abarth 500
Fiat launched the Abarth 500 in India a few years ago, only to pull it off shelves after a couple of years on account of poor sales. Before 2014 makes way for 2015, Fiat will resurrect the 500 badge in India, this time with much more poke in tow. The Abarth 500, straight from Fiat’s performance factory, will sit right at the top of the Italian automaker’s car range in India, as a brand builder. The Abarth 500 will be imported into India a completely built unit. So, expect to pay close to 30 lakh rupees for an example. Powered by a 1.4 liter turbo petrol engine with outputs of 158 Bhp-230 Nm, the Abarth 500 is a pint sized powerhouse, and a modern day legend at that.
The Cooper range of sporty hatchbacks have a cult following across the world but it wasn’t until 2012 before Indians could partake in the iconic brand, which is now owned by BMW. The fourth generation Mini Cooper range is ready and will arrive into India in November. The Mini Cooper S model typifies the adage, good things come in small packages. The fourth generation of the Mini range will get larger in size to accommodate the ever changing needs of buyers. However, the performance of these cars will be kept true to tradition with more powerful turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines, and a brand new UKL platform that the Mini Coopers share with front wheel driven BMWs. Like the Fiat Abarth 500, the 4th generation Mini Cooper range will be direct imports, with prices likely to start from near the 30 lakh rupee mark.
BMW M3 and M4
The BMW M3 is an icon in the sportscar world, for blending everyday usability and performance like say the Porsche 911, with the only differences being that the M3 has been much more affordable and practical than the Porsche. India will soon receive the 4th generation M3, which now becomes a five door sedan. To preserve the M3’s heritage and to offer BMW aficionados a purer M experience, BMW has built a three door coupe version and named it the M4. Both the M3 and M4 cars are the most powerful ones, beating all previous M3s hollow in horsepower and torque stakes. The cars use 3 liter-inline 6 turbo petrol engines (431 Bhp-550 Nm) paired with 7 speed dual clutch automatic transmissions that power their rear wheels. BMW will launch the 4th generation M3 and M4 sportscars next month, at prices that are likely to cross the Rs. 1 crore mark.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser is a legend and there are no two things to it. From bulletproof reliability to a degree of ruggedness hitherto seen in other SUVs, the modern day Land Cruiser exemplifies bespoke Japanese quality mixed with a dollop of luxury. The Land Cruiser is Toyota’s longest running vehicle series, in serial production since 1951.
The Land Cruiser traces its origin to the Korean War of the 1950s, which led to Toyota developing the BJ and FJ SUVs based on the Willys Jeep. The latest generation of the Land Cruiser is from the 200 Series, and shares its platform with the Lexus LX570 SUV. The 200 Series Land Cruiser sold in India is powered by a 4.5 liter, V8 turbo diesel engine that makes 262 Bhp-650 Nm. A six speed automatic gearbox handles torque transmission to all four wheels of the SUV through a full-time four wheel drive feature. Priced at a whopping 1.13 crore rupees, ex-showroom Delhi, the Land Cruiser is the most expensive Toyota sold in India.
Mercedes Benz G-Class
Like the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Mercedes G-Wagen, also known as the G-Class, is one of the longest produced vehicle lines in Mercedes Benz’s history, with a production run spanning over 35 years. Originally developed as a military vehicle, the Mercedes Benz G-Class’ civilian sales began from 1979. Although the G-Class SUV is offered with a lower utility trim in international markets, India gets the top of the line model, with a very powerful turbo petrol engine tuned by Mercedes Benz’s performance arm, AMG. Known for its ability both on and off the road, and of course its classic shape that has remained true to form over the years, the boxy SUV is sold in the G 63 AMG trim. The SUV features a 5.5 liter twin turbo petrol engine with 536 Bhp-760 Nm outputs. A 7 speed automatic gearbox and all-time four wheel drive layout is standard on this SUV, which is priced at an eye watering 1.85 crore rupees, yes your read right, ex-showroom Delhi.
The Porsche 911 is an instantly recognizable icon in the sportscar world thanks to its distinct shape and is also the longest serving sportscar in the world, with continuous production from 1963. The 911 is one of the most versatile sportscars in the world, with everyday usability being its hallmark, much unlike more expensive sportscars and supercars. With Porsche operating in India, a wide range of 911 sportscars are available here, right from the 911 Carerra to the the top-of-the-line 911 Turbo S. Priced from 1.29 crore rupees for the Carerra, to 2.66 crore rupees to the 911 Turbo S, the Porsche 911 affords a very wide price range for buyers, which isn’t very common in the sportscar world of India. The 911 Turbo S uses a 3.8 liter, flat six turbo petrol engine that makes 560 Bhp-700 Nm. A 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox drives the rear wheels of the car. What is the twin door Porsche 911 all about? Sublime handling afforded by the rear engine-rear wheel drive layout, and these traits have remained the same, right from the first 911 that rolled out of Stuttgart in 1963.