Snapshot – The tribe of those who love driving and such things about cars is rapidly increasing in India, a country where disposable incomes are on the rise. Car makers have taken note of this and have begun launching cars that cater to the enthusiast community. Half a dozen such enthusiast-focused cars will be launched in the next six months. CarToq takes a look at 6 enthusiast cars that are coming your way this year.
Fiat Grande Punto 90 HP
The Fiat Grande Punto will get a facelift shortly. Along with the facelifted model, which bows in during July, Fiat will also offer a top-end 90 HP variant of the hatchback. The Punto 90 HP will be aimed squarely at the driving enthusiast. The diesel powered car will feature a turbocharged, 1.3 liter Multijet motor good for a 91 Bhp-209 Nm power and torque output. The car will sit at the top of the variant chain and will feature new interiors, a revised exterior, twin airbags and ABS+EBD. The Punto is known for its fantastic ride and handling package, and its hefty build quality. These attributes are likely to be carried over to the latest iteration of the Punto 90 HP. The car is likely to be priced at 8 lakh rupees.
Volkswagen Polo 1.5 GT TDI
The Polo will receive a facelift in about the same time as the Punto 90 HP. Along with the facelift, the car is expected to get a new 1.5 liter-4 cylinder TDI turbo diesel engine to replace the existing 1.6 liter TDI unit. The new engine is said to be as powerful as the outgoing version despite displacing 100 cc less. Since the 1.5 liter TDI diesel engine will fall within the 1.5 liter diesel engine limit that Indian government mandates for sub-4 meter cars seeking excise duty concessions, the Polo 1.5 TDI could be more affordable than the outgoing version by up to 50,000 rupees. So, if you’re considering a Polo GT TDI, we suggest that you wait for the facelifted model to arrive.
Force Gurkha 4X4
Force Motors is likely to begin selling the Gurkha 4X4 off roader from August. The SUV, which was launched in March last year, hasn’t gone on sale yet as Force Motors is said to be working on ironing out niggles. The Gurkha 4X4 will be a Mahindra Thar competitor and will be aimed at off road enthusiasts who want something other than the Gypsys and Thars of the 4X4 world. The SUV will feature a 2.6 liter turbo diesel engine in 80 Bhp-230 Nm state of tune. Both BS3 and BS4 variants of the Gurkha are likely. The Gurkha 4X4 was launched at a price of 6.25 lakh rupees. A similar price point is expected to be retained when the SUV is re-introduced.
Volkswagen Vento Diesel DSG
Later this year, Volkswagen India will add a dual clutch automatic gearbox to the diesel powered Vento sedan. Like the Polo GT TDI, the diesel powered Vento sedan will also see its 1.6 liter TDI engine being replaced by a new 1.5 liter unit. The Vento Diesel DSG will be India’s first diesel automatic C-Segment sedan to feature a dual clutch automatic gearbox, with blindingly fast gearshifts. The car’s focus on performance means that Volkswagen is eyeing the enthusiast market. Volkswagen has already been selling the turbo petrol engined Vento with an DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox in India. Expect a festive season launch for the Vento Diesel DSG, at a price of about 11 lakh rupees.
Renault Duster 4X4
All variants of the hot selling Duster SUVs that Renault sells in India are front wheel driven. While the front wheel drive layout gives the Duster good fuel efficiency, the SUV isn’t The French car brand wants a pie of the SUV enthusiast market and do this, has equipped the Duster with a 4X4 system. The 4X4 mechanism will greatly improve the Duster’s off road capabilities as the system features an auto mode that detects wheel slip and deploys the 4 wheel drive system automatically. The Duster 4X4 will get the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine in 108 Bhp-248 Nm state of tune. A festive season launch and a price tag that’s a little under 13 lakh rupees are likely for the Duster 4X4.
Fiat Abarth 500 Esseesse
Fiat’s foray into high performance cars is expected to begin later this year, with the pint-sized powerhouse, the Abarth 500 Esseesse (pronounced S-S) hatchback. The car is technically a four seater with room for two adults and two midgets/kids. Powered by a 1.4 liter turbo petrol engine that’s good for 158 Bhp and 230 Nm, the Abarth 500’s 1035 kilogram kerb weight promises to make for some very perky performance, excuse the oxymoron there. A five speed manual gearbox will come standard on this front wheel driven, high performance car. The Abarth 500 is likely to command a price tag lose to the 25 lakh rupee mark owing to its CBU import status. A launch before 2014 folds into 2015 is on the cards.