Bavarian ticket

first_imgIt might cost the same as a Honda, and nearly the same as a Toyota and even a Chevrolet for that matter, but there’s no denying that it still commands higher snob value. That’s because the vehicle in contention is a BMW. It’s called the X1 and is the younger sibling of the X5 and X3 range of SAVs from the Bavarian carmaker. It comes at a price tag of Rs. 22 lakh, but is still an entry ticket into the luxury circle.BMW has launched the X1 in three versions; the cheapest is powered by a 2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and there’s a 2-litre diesel to be had as well. But, the one we are reviewing costs over Rs. 33 lakh on the road.It is the X1 Exclusive, powered by the aforementioned diesel engine, but packed with more features. There’s the new generation iDrive, a sunroof, better headlamps (projector-type xenon lamps to be precise), headlamp washer and the complete communication package. It includes, among other things, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod and USB compatibility, sat-nav and a 6 CD-changer stereo system. This info, however, is easily available on the company website. The moot question then is–does it feel and drive like a BMW? It surely looks like one with its kidney grille, the corona rings for headlamps and its pronounced belt line and flame surfacing. But, it’s not good looking. There’s something odd about the X1’s long hood and low stance; it looks mismatched. It looks nice from the rear quarters, and the interior design is different (and refreshing, thankfully!) from what we have seen on other BMWs on Indian roads, though the X1 still mostly uses the same buttons, dials and knobs that underscore its Bavarian roots.The X1 is a BMW in the way it drives too. It brakes phenomenally well and is stable in a straight line, no matter what speed. It turns in with alertness and gives the driver feedback about what the wheels and the chassis are up to around bends. When you indulge the X1 by stepping on the gas mid-corner, the throttle and the steering work beautifully. Even with the stability programme switched off, you are always in good hands. The moment you get off the throttle completely in a slide, the stability programme kicks in with alacrity. Ride quality, however, continues to be a BMW India problem. Constantly facing the stick for its stiff ride, BMW has made some changes here. The suspension has been modified in a way as to make it less stiff and more pliant on Indian roads. Dampers have been softened up and the runflat tyres also add to the improved ride quality. To sum up, X1 is a well put-together automobile with fairly good looks and interiors, and impressive driving dynamics. Don’t mistake it as replacement for a full-sized SUV. This BMW is surely a style statement, and a good one at that.Price: Rs. 33.7 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi Hero Honda hunk 150 ccThe Hero Honda Hunk is back in a new avatar, with that sports blacked-out cycle parts and silencer guard. Also new are the front fender and visor, LED tail lamps, which lend more character to the rear end, and a new set of clocks–the latter being a combination of analogue (fuel gauge and tachometer) and digital counters (speedo, odo and tripmeter). Get astride the new Hunk and you will find the riding position comfortable, despite the slightly rearset footpegs. All switches are within easy reach of the thumbs but the switchgear itself does not feel crisp, even though the switches are light and therefore easy to operate. And, an engine kill switch is still missing. To ride, the Hunk is a quick motorcycle that gets up to speed quite quickly, courtesy a torquey engine. What mars it somewhat are engine vibrations that can be felt even at revs as low as 3,000 rpm and a gearbox that is clunky. The addition of a rear disc helps a little when it comes to stopping but the Hunk’s brakes feel mushy.The new Hero Honda Hunk is a good motorcycle; it is comfortable yet reasonably sporty with a punchy engine. The makers have given its looks the right tweaks. All it needs now are a slicker gearbox, better quality switches and of course, an engine kill switch. Price: Rs. 69,000 ex-showroom Delhi.–Aninda SardarColumn courtesy: Auto Bild Indiaadvertisementlast_img

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