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TRAILBLAZERS IN THE OFFING.

THE Geneva Motor Show is not just about supercars and outlandish concepts. Manufacturers use the opportunity to showcase their upcoming production cars. Some of these cars are even likely to come to India.

AUDI TTS

If the marketing department of a car manufacturer wants to sell us a new model as an icon, caution is advised. Too often an everyday model is hyped as an icon in order to boost sales.

Nevertheless, in Audi the first generation TT is spoken of as a style icon. And of course, they're right. In the 1990s hardly any other car model screamed for more attention or created as much of a sensation as the small sports car from Ingolstadt.

Designer Peter Schreyer ( now at Kia) had given an identity to the somewhat staid brand, a stylistic compass. This though in the following years was lost.

The car models were becoming increasingly similar, and often even connoisseurs could barely make out how one car was different from another.

And now the third- generation should give the brand another lifeline. And chances do not seem bad. Grim look, sharp and precise lines -- yes, the Audi of the future may look like this. Fortunately Audi has not made the mistake of leaving the TT to grow vigorously. With an exterior length of 4.18 metres, the athlete remains pleasantly compact -- and with a curb weight of 1,230kg, the new TT is around 140kg lighter than the first generation.

The light weight together with the newly developed engines makes the consumption level decrease to small car levels -- the diesel with 184bhp will have an overall fuel efficiency of just 23.8kmpl.

But the really exciting innovations are in the interior. The digital instrument panel can be freely programmed to show what you want and the voice control understands commands such as " Go to Hamburg" or " I want to talk to Tim". However the virtual cockpit needs to be worked on as there is too much information available for a small display space.

JAGUAR XFR- S SPORTBRAKE

Jaguar revealed its first R- S badged high- performance estate car along with the names of its new small sedan and engine range. The 5- litre supercharged V8 on the XFR- S produces 550bhp and has a top speed of 300kmph..

RENAULTTWINGO

Renault shows how to make a small car that stands out. Not only because of the technical concept, which has the engine at the back just like the Tata Nano, but also from the human angle. It is a charming car from the inside with good quality of material and good workmanship. There is also a large display, which can be used for navigation.

JEEP RENEGADE

Well, if this new Jeep is not a citizen of the world, then what could possibly be: After all, it is designed in America, built in Italy, has engines among others from Brazil and will be offered in over 100 countries around the world and is presented at the Motor Show in Geneva.

Surprisingly small, the Renegade is just 4,230mm in length. With the typical Jeep grille in the radiator look and the flared fenders it still looks brawny and rustic. But that is what we expect from a Jeep, even if it is so small. And much more, it is a brave hustler. How- The BMW 2- series Active Tourer is being launched with a choice of three and four- cylinder new generation engines.

The new Audi TTS is around 140kg lighter than its first generation.

ever, it lacks the flare of the Cherokee or the finesse and stateliness of the Grand Chrokee. All in all it is a slight disappointment on the styling front. But it lends itself well to kitting and looks good as the Trailhawk. In this variant, it comes with standard all- wheel drive, 220mm ground clearance and an extreme creeper setting to make this model the best climber in its class. For a bit more comfort on firm paths, there will be adaptive damping from suspension specialists Koni. A view of the interior reveals soft foamed plastics, a thick padded steering wheel and clear instruments -- here you feel comfortable, almost like in a small sedan.

Too bad that the seats may look somewhat short and the space a little inadequate. And why has Jeep given up on the classic handbrake, instead opting for an electric parking brake? A special feature of the Renegade is that is a steering wizard. It works together with ESP and can countersteer in an emergency. We are curious to see if it works.

BMW2- SERIES

BMW created history at the 2014 Geneva show by revealing what is its first ever front- wheel drive offering, the 2- series Active Tourer. Aimed squarely at the Mercedes B- class, the 2- series pack in quite a punch.

The 2- series incorporated the family design values of the group, thanks to the kidney grille, Lshaped headlights and a Hofmeister kink. Together with the long wheelbase of 2,670 mm and raised roofline, BMW designers have been able to open up considerable amount of cabin space. The 2- series features a simple dashboard, which is equipped with a touchscreen interface and an instrument cluster consisting of two BMW standard analog gauges. A heads- up display is available as an optional extra. But what the 2- series has in loads is storage space. The 2- series is all about versatility and the example of this is its boot, which can be increased from a standard 468 litres to a rather substantial 1,510 litres by folding the back seats. The back seats also offer 40: 20: 40 split- folding rear backrest. Flexibility is further enhanced by a sliding rear seat, allowing either kneeroom or luggage space to be increased as required.

The new BMW 2- series Active Tourer is being launched with a choice of three, and four- cylinder new generation engines. They are installed transversely and boast a compact design along with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.

Moving on to the powertrains.

BMW will offer the 2- series in three variants. The first is the 218i, which comes with a threecylinder petrol, which offers 136bhp and is mated to a sixspeed manual box. The second variant is the 225i, which uses 231bhp to propel the car to 100kmph in just 6.8 seconds and to a top speed of 235kmph. The diesel in question is the 218d powered by a four- cylinder oil burner.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 30, 2014
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