A small affair with an Ingolstadt beauty – Audi A4 2.0 TDI
While I’ve driven Mercs and Bimmers earlier driving an Audi was somewhere in the middle of my ‘to-do’ list and today it’s been shifted to the ‘been there done that’ list. Was the shift exciting, average or disappointing? The words ahead will undress the truth.
At about 3:30 pm I got a call from the Audi guy and happily I pushed myself downstairs to the entrance of the office. Open the door and the beauty from Ingolstadt stood there draped in silver with her beautiful rear facing me. Although not as exciting to look at as Jennifer Lopez’s back the A4’s does look firmly in place and soothing.
Walked over to the side, opened the door and in typical European style the door opened in a three-stage fashion and the heavy thing closed with a firmly firm ‘thud’. Step inside and the black interior scheme was right up there to my taste considering my fetish for black interiors. Neatly placed controls and a clean looking instrument panel are a good sight for the eyes. The seats were in particular very comfortable and the leather spoke of high quality, something you would expect from a car of this segment.
Time to fire her up then. The ignition process is quite a swanky one. One just needs to take the key fob and insert into a slot on the left side of the steering (the way you put coins in a slot machine) and then with your right foot on the brake just press the fob and the 2.0 litre diesel engine comes to life with few but still audible signs of a diesel crank. Vibration though was close to nil. Reversing was the first thing to do and I wasn’t very comfortable with the sensors guiding me so I banked on the universal equipment – rotation friendly neck muscles. Slot the lever into “D” and we were away. No nonsense and smooth acceleration is what you expect from her and that is exactly what she gives you. Puttering along the roads was pretty easy and visibility was good at the front and side but rear visibility wasn’t very good and had me desiring for more.
While driving around was great this is not exactly what I like doing and hence it was imminent that I would bury the throttle to the floor sometime soon and it did happen that way. In “D” mode the build-up was lateral uptil 2200 odd RPM and it was only after that when the engine showed some character. There was a strong surge ahead although nothing close to spine shoving and the speed increased at a decent speed. Steering response was very impressive and at any speeds the steering communication and feedback between the soft leather and the palm was appreciable.
The next step was to check the performance in “S” aka sports mode. In this mode the throttle response sharpened up a bit and overall the driving feel improved a bit. Nothing astonishing though and strictly decent by my standards. Had it not been for a bloody spaniel I would’ve been able to hit a significantly higher speed than I achieved. One irritating thing was that the electronic handbrake is engaged by a small button and no conventional lever and that pretty much negates any chances of an interesting and fun-filled slide or a short drift.
The rear bench was very comfortable and even during long journeys comfort shouldn’t be an issue. The downside is that it is strictly for two passengers only or for a third passenger who’s a toddler or a homo sapien with no legs. This is due to the rear AC vents eating their way deep inside the rear legroom in the centre. But then again luxury for many isn’t a requirement in this segment.
Boot is pretty large and can easily swallow all your stuff for a 3-4 days outing and also home to the spare wheel known as the ‘donut wheel’ since apart from being a steel wheel it’s smaller in size that the ones acting as the shoes for the car and the difference is made up by a higher profile tyre.
Suspension is on the stiffer side but not as stiff as a BMW and if corner carving is what someone craves for the A4 won’t disappoint you despite being a front-wheel drive. So is this car worth Rs 29.6 lakhs, ex-showroom, Delhi. It entirely depends on what one is looking for. If comfort and safety are a requirement and snob value and features with little usage make sense for someone than the car is worth the money. An enthusiast though like me will really struggle to find value for the more than Rs 30 lakhs on-road price.
Consider this – The Audi A4 with no Quattro, rear wheel-drive or a mother of an engine costs Rs 31+ lakhs and does 0-100 in 9.4 seconds and some cars at1/3 of that price do it in 9.5 – 9.9 seconds. Wanna impress a lady in the cabin with swanky features of not much use then this does the job, want to experience pure driving pleasure then either lower your budget by about 2/3rd of the amount or wait till day after tomorrow by when I drive the Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 320i.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
A small affair with an Ingolstadt beauty – Audi A4 2.0 TDI
Posted by Hawk at 18:28
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Mostly ads contain words such as "excellent", "clean", brand new" and many more depending on the height the advertiser's imagination can fly up to. Some popular statements include army driven, doctor driven, single-hand driven, senior citizen driven and lady driven. While most of these actually do support the theory that the car might be properly maintained the last two clearly suggest that the car is badly maintained and in case of a lady driver the car would surely be a mobile scrap under the hood no matter how good on the outside.
While this does not apply to all female drivers it does hold true for most (at least 95% in my opinion). Army driven vehicles are good since army personnel would rarely have a dirty car and their punctuality and desire for perfection means a regularly serviced car. Doctors are rarely fast/rash drivers and putter around sedately thereby translating into an engine that has only been foreplayed with but not yet screwed. Same holds true for single-hand driven vehicle. While senior citizen cars do have problems those are not major mostly and the ratio of occurrence is also not alarmingly high.
Let's move on to the problems now. The main problem is with the way women learn and drive cars. While learning they are always frightened to death and once they have learnt driving (I'm not sure if this part ever completes) they still drive with fear on the road. Now why they do this is because there are things which humanity and science cannot answer and this is one of them. I really find it impossible to understand that why does one need to see the hood of the car while driving. I'm glad that my wife is an exception here. The first day she drove the Cedia she adjusted the height of the seat to the most vertical point, steering set at highest point and seat pushed so forward that not only men without legs but even those with the reproductive organ will find it hard to sit in the car. However and thankfully by the 3rd day all the settings were back to lowest point and now only the seat is pushed forward but only to the limit which compensates for shorter legs but unfortunately not all women grow out of the full forward and full-up syndrome.
Reverse parking for women is generally as hard as it is for the moronic Thackerays to understand the meaning of the word "country". Just do a small check. Check out 10 lady driven cars on a random basis and I bet 7 of them would have damages on all four sides. Even cars driven by men do but not on all four sides, thereby proving the everlasting problem of assuming points of contact and gaps.
So the body although clean wouldn't be scratchless. Let's come to other parts now. Engine would normally be assumed to be in mint condition since the car wouldn't have been driven fast ever. Once again people who think so are wrong because if you observe the driving style of women, more than 90% use clutch as a foot rest. In bumper-to-bumper traffic they would half-clutch the car all the time thereby burning the clutch and putting strain on the engine. For those of you who aren't aware about half-clutching - It happens when you are rolling forward/backward at very slow speeds (say 5-10 km/hr) and you have the clutch lever pressed to half point and to move the car each time you press the throttle a little bit and release the clutch tiny bit. Do this and your clutch plates burn like incense sticks. For those who wanna check it just do a simple thing. Drive a lady driven car and try to move ahead in 1st gear. If you feel that the rpm is increasing more in co-relation to the actual gain in speeds then it's a sign of worn out clutch. So out goes the theory of a good powertrain too in the drain.
The gearbox would almost never be in good condition. Either very hard or very spongy lifeless shifts are what you will get in a 2 year old lady driven car. Women for some reason get it extremely wrong when it comes to gear shifting. In many cases they forget to engage 5th and keep driving in 4th at 60-70 km/hr. In other cases there's always too much of early shifting, more like a race to reach top gear. LADIES just reaching 5th at speeds of 40km/hr will not save you fuel but instead burn more of it. Gears should be shifted with the clutch fully pressed. I bet most of the women have never bottomed out the clutch. So gearbox too goes down the drain.
The reality then is that while there are cars driven by men too which could/are in more sad state that is the only place from you will get a good car also. Women on the other hand should be encouraged to learn more about driving. Till then I suggest that try and stay away from a lady driven car else you'll never have a smooth car with perfection. I've never seen a lady driven car till date which sounds the same and drives the same after 2 years as it did when it was new. Men though can be found in thousands whose cars remain spanking new even after 3 or more years.
I'll leave you with an interesting fact and a suggestion. Fact is that if women ever defend themselves to be equally good drivers as men just ask them why don't they look out for solely lady-driven cars when they buy a used one? Truth is that in 2 years they learn a bit about cars and grow smart enough to understand how they've poorly driven the car and hence try and stay away from another such car. The suggestion for women is that instead of just using the car as a machine try and understand the car a bit and learn to feel it. If there's a sound coming from the back then you won't have to ask stupid questions such as "where is this sound coming from?"
The idea about lady-driven cars being good and great then sadly.......goes down the sewage.
P.S. before women pull out their extremely clichéd and senseless MCP (male chauvinist pig) weapon learn that I strongly support and promote equality between men and the sexier sex and strongly condemn acts of suppressing them or their rights. All I want to make clear is that we are equal anyways being humans and in social terms the scenario is improving thankfully. But there are some things which women excel in and some in which men do and both cannot beat each other in these fields. Women can be/are equal in most cases but claiming to be equally good/better drivers/pilots than men is like a man claiming to be equally good in feeding babies from nipples and that women have a stronger sexual drive in general than men. If any of the above two statements are true barring exceptions than Ladies you surely can drive to glory with the crown of better drivers.
Posted by Hawk at 15:16
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
As expected the Auto Expo turned out to be worst than imaginable. Although it was great in terms of new launches and displays, all of it was useless since very few got to see it properly. I was at the Expo on 5th January, a day reserved for the media and it was a nightmare even then. People with a shabby beard, sack like clothes, pathetic manners and a face which could put their parents to shame were also present on the media day. They had absolutely no interest in the cars.
They were going from stall to stall only to get the media kits just like garbage pickers go from bin to bin to pick left overs and as expected, their appearances were strikingly similar. For reasons unknown to mankind some people were not even willing to wait for the car to be unveiled or launched and were shamelessly asking for the media kits despite the staff explaining that a media kit is supposed to be handed out once the car is launched. Asking for a press/media kit even before a car is launched is like shagging to the pictures of Monica Belluci while she is standing next to you, just that you couldn't wait for her to undress and then when you're done with your mental nerves going through a state of explosion you still don't wait to see her although she's undressed now coz you have her pictures.
This has primarily to do with the fact that apart from the big channels and newspapers most of the media and media persons in our country are brainless guts with logic as straight as pubic hair and intelligence at par with the people who inhabit most part of the place known as Middle East.
This however was on part of the people in our country who always want the best but don't want to give out even the ordinary. If we are asked to pay toll we start complaining about it without trying to understand the financial side of the thing and then we get to use bad roads we still complain and moreover in a stratospherically shameless way draw comparisons with the west, a land where people give out the best and then expect the best from their country. But here it never happens that way. Increasing the fare is a stupid idea since car makers need people and not vice-versa so why should a common man with the purchasing power of 3 lakhs be asked to pay 500Rs to enter a mismanaged event just to get a short glimpse of a prospective car. Taking off girls from the stands too is a bad idea. Apart from creating short-term employment the idea of having girls on the displays adds up to the overall aura around the vehicle.
Then come the main culprits, Govt officials and units (aka sarkari babu in hindi) who can not even manage to wear a shirt and pant properly leave alone managing such a big event, no matter what position they hold (minus exceptions which are an endangered species). The way the Expo was managed raises many questions. Why were non-media people allowed to enter on a media day? Why was there no system to verify the credentials of people? What were teenage boys and girls doing in the Expo with arms wrapped around each other? Why wasn't the layout planned in line with the number of expected visitors?
The hall where BMW had put up was in the worst state I guess. Surprisingly no sarkari babu thought (their mental abilities are so limited in India. Blame the selection and lifetime guarantee of job) that providing a single alley between BMW and Bosch would make it impossible for people to move two ways and that it would only add to clogging up of people.
Most of these questions won't be answered since they will fall on deaf ears of inefficient people with a lifetime job guarantee who are an absolute disgrace to the country on a global stage. These people revel in themselves only by flashing a red light or a coloured stripe or a passport with a different colour and by boasting about themselves in front of illiterate or poor people.
I suggest then that if we are to change as a nation and want to change our perception abroad we ll need to change first and become more willing to learn the characters tics of a homo sapien rather than behaving like animals. Moreover we need to change the thought about a government job and not join it for stability but for the reason that a government job allows us to directly contribute to the development of our country. Also I can bet on it that if the lifetime security is taken away from government employees, they would change overnight and start working efficiently else they will continue to lead their lives in the miserable and shameful state as they do right now and I'm sorry to say but the world on the other side will only think about us what Valentino Rossi thinks about us after visiting the Auto Expo 2010.
Posted by Hawk at 14:47
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
The looks of Punto has most of the people left in awe and the car is undoubtedly beautifully proportionate and a head-turner. Most of the Indian automotive media has appreciated a number of things on the Punto but all seem to get stuck on a couple of things - performance and interior quality & space . It seems as if road test editors from all the publishing houses sat for a beer and after 2 hours one drunk guy decided that we all need to keep a few things common in our review. Of course things which are bad appeal as bad to most but that's only if you're judging a crooked body, a face like the Williams sisters or a man living on a diet of Viagra. The Punto's performance though is not that bad and so isn't the interior quality or the space.
Things will be better to understand if taken one at a time for those who are frantically thinking of a comment they can leave me.
Both the 1.2 and the 1.4 engines are adequate as per the car's specifications. Undoubtedly the car could do with more power but is there really any limit to more power? Even the Veyron failed to satisfy some crazy nuts who at this point of time are busy tuning a Ford or Chrysler engine to a million horsepower while their wife is sleeping with the guy who comes to deliver parts for the car since the crazy contraption breaks down every time it moves an inch.
Considering Indian roads and the traffic and of course the highly courteous moves that people display on the roads every minute, a Punto should suffice for your needs. It's very easy to point out mistakes, a good thing to do but criticism is good only if constructive and not if you're forced to criticise a car because if you don't you won't get your salary since the magazine lost out on major advertising revenues.
People need to understand that at rs 3.99 lakhs (399,000) you get a car which resembles a Maserati and an Aston Martin. You get a car which safely cocoons you in case of an accident. You get great features and hence bigger bang for your money. Most importantly you get better driving pleasure overall because the handling of the car is as if it is on rails and what you lose in power you make up for more than that in handling. You've all read and heard journos cribbing about the short rev band, an absolutely crappy claim. How many of us really rev the car past 4000 rpm on a regular basis? The 1.4 is a decently powered car and compares well with other cars in its category. Does being 2 seconds slower to 100 mean the world for you? If it does then you don't and can't buy a satisfactory car with 4-6 lakhs. for being 2 seconds slower you get 2 million times better looks then any Maruti or crappy Hyundai, you get better handling and way better safety.
In no means I aim to reject any extra ponies that Fiat might give us but putting down a car of Punto's class and claiming a Hyundai to be better is what I stand against.
I completely agree to the fact that the interiors could have been better but they aren't' as bad as many suggest. The quality of interiors is down because a large chunk of the plastics has been localised in order to get cost advantage and that is what allows Fiat to give you a gorgeous car wrapped in a overall great package for 4-6 lakhs. If Fiat would've given the same interiors as in the European model then you couldn't pay just 4 lakhs for this car and drive off. And if Fiat did that then everyone would start whining about the car being badly priced. In short no matter what or how great Fiat does, some Indians challenged by the top most part of their body will criticise it for no reason.
In terms of space utilisation, there certainly has been wastage of space but that is because the car is more style-oriented than providing acres of space inside. I really find it ridiculous when the interiors of Punto are compared to the Jazz. For Chris sake the Jazz cost nearly twice of what the Punto does.
The bottomline is that people in Indian seem to have developed a notion that Fiat can't make reliable cars even though it has been making cars since most of us weren't even planned to be born. Quite surprisingly though they do believe that Hyundai, a company which couldn't even make or design its own engine till 1991 and till date can't design even the car's exterior body without ripping off someone else's designs can make better cars than the Italian marque.
The Grande Punto is the best overall package your money can buy you in its segment and if you want more of the things that Punto hasn't got you'll lose more important things if you buy any other car. However, if you want the best of everything then either go and learn to earn more quickly or become a saint and preach people (most successful business in India) and then go and buy yourself a BMW M3.
You decide what's more important for you. If you want to pick a beautiful girl from a disc or a pub who's not a hooker then get yourself a Punto. The car will speak a lot about your taste and attitude in life and believe me girls who are not prostitutes are damn good at judging a guy by what he drives and wears. However, if you do happen to be someone in your late 50s and in a state where even Viagra doesn't help you anymore then get the Ritz. If you haven't been to a good school/university and know about sophestication as much as your 4 year old knows about where he came from and how then buy an Indica Vista. And very disgustingly if you are a homosexual then don't think beyond the Hyundai i20. Just buy the i20 and drive to any pub and you will find a partner. the best part is that the i20 does have some good, soft and comfortable seats so when you head back to your home in the morning with a sore back your seats will comfort you to a great extent.
Posted by Hawk at 17:02
Friday, 24 July 2009
Electric and hybrid cars are useless, understand Global Warming rather than spreading the false fear
Another crisis and suddenly the car once again seems to have come under the axe. Anything that runs on petrol or diesel is like a rich industrialist in a socialist economy and now needs to be stripped of his wealth, power and CO2 output in the case of a car. Every known form of media on this planet these days is filled with information on hybrid and electric cars and more than 99% of them without any logic are blindly supporting them.
Everyone knows about depleting fuel reserves and so-called Global Warming, with one I agree and the other I completely disagree. No one can challenge the fact that oil is finishing up and some day we would have very little or none of it. That certainly requires us to discover or invent alternatives and I'm perfectly in favour of that. The problem however is that too much is being spent on the inappropriate or wrong alternatives. Electric hybrids and electric cars are not the future unless the definition of future for mankind has changed from going forward to backward and if it has at all then that is certainly so gay and homosexual kinda stuff.
The reason why cars have become an indispensable part of our lives is because our lives revolve around it. Whether it is an occasion of happiness, sorrow, curiosity or any other human emotion, a car does play an important part in all aspects of our lives. the car has been able to be a part of every aspect of our lives because we can drive it for long once filled, when out of gas a car can be refilled in a couple of minutes and once again you can go for a week without having to fill. Unless you're not in the jungles of Amazon or with the penguins in the Antarctic, you will easily find a gas station to refuel. Imagine your life in the same way with an electric car.
First you had to recharge your car overnight for 8 hours on the electricity which is generated by burning coal, so much for saving the environment. Expectedly on a Monday morning you are running late for the office and quickly stuff your mouth with a toast and gulp the coffee. Kiss your wife goodbye and rush to the car. Since you're running late you'll need to drive fast to your office, 50 kms away. So where's the problem? The car brochure states a range of 150 kms on a full-charge and this is only 100kms to and fro. However, you did drive fast and hard in the morning so regardless of your driving style in the evening, you will run out of power about 20kms away from home. Weekend getaways will only turn into weekend nightmares if done in an electric car. Your wife will ask you to stop by a river for a few romantic moments but you can't coz if you take the diversion you won't be left with enough power to make it to your destination.
Electric cars have been selling since the time neither me nor my readers were born (not too many Grandpas read this blog) but still there haven't been any appreciable developments. A car named Henney Kilowatt could do 97 kms on a full-charge and reach a top speed of 97km/hr in 1960. More than 45 years later the Tesla Roadster does 300 odd kms on a full-charge and manages a top speed of 200 km/hr. I wonder if this rate of development can even be termed as a development because in real-world the Tesla doesn't come anywhere close to its claimed range.
The Ferrari Daytona (Beautiful car!) in the 1960s could do 270 km/hr and manage about 5 km/litre. The Bugatti Veyron in 2006 could do 408 km/hr and still manage a fuel efficiency of a little above 5 km/litre. Now that is development. The Tesla is by no means an innovation or engineering marvel. It's simply a Lotus Elise which has been stuffed with thousands of laptop batteries. the Veyron on the other hand is the epitome of automotive engineering. Everything for the car was built from scratch unlike the Tesla.
The other disadvantage of electric cars is that you'll find it hard to lose virginity. Just imagine a college guy having an electric car. He goes out for a long drive with a pretty girl. Now obviously the destination would be a pristine location and that would be far away so a couple of hours of driving. Since the distance is long the girl is in mood (probably drunk) she asks for loud music. sadly you can't have the air-con/heater and the music system working together because you need the power to reach your home back. Somehow you make it to the destination and just when things start to get closely interesting you blow it all away! Why? Because if it's hot she would have wanted the air-con to be on while both of them carried out some biology practical in the back seat. But the guy can't switch on the air-con for an hour because if he does that not only will the air-con stop working mid-ways there won't be any electricity left to go back home. This is regardless of the fact that the air-con was anyways ineffective. Quite sadly the guy lost his chance forever since he turned out to be a boring nerd and girls quite obviously don't like it when the going gets too sweaty.
Hybrids are also useless propositions. While they do emit lesser emissions from the tailpipe, overall they damage the environment a lot more and their looks are as good as those of a 50 year old, wrinkled and fat prostitute. The place where batteries for Toyota Prius are made is a dead land and nothing can ever grow on it or survive on it. Many other such components for the prius are shipped from various parts of the world in huge ships and interestingly one container ship pollutes more than 5 million cars in a year. Hard to understand how hybrids save the environment and why aren't such ships the main point of focus rather than cars? There are 8,000 such ships in the world today. An elementary level calculation will tell you whether cars are more serious threat to the environment or such ships and as a matter of fact not even close to 10% regulations exist for the shipping industry when compared with the car industry.
I am not against the replacement of gasoline but like every sane person I want value for my every single penny and the above two options sadly don't offer that. The electric and hybrid car hype is a hype created by politicians and various lobbyists who want to divert from real solutions such as hydrogen and focus on unpractical things and in the process fill their pockets.
All this is done on the back of Global Warming phobia and quite honestly things aren't remotely as bad as portrayed. You know about melting of glaciers since that is what people in power want you to read. No one tells about the new glaciers being formed. Melting of glaciers is a normal process so why has it suddenly become the talking point now? Polar bears have substantially increased in population so why show ads fearing their extinction? Global warming is a globally misinformed hype and people very willingly accept anything fed to them in this regard and very conveniently label any non-believer as a fool. This is simply because sadly most of the humans today accept fear easily and are willing to believe in anything which can cause destruction. Belief in the power to heal and sel-courage is a rarity these days and those who understand this are the ones who feed you with all the information and make you believe what they want to. All this so that their bank accounts multiply every year. For more truth on Global Warming click on the link below and you'll be surprised to know what a fool you've been. Also try and remember that how many articles that told of global warming actually provided proof or evidence. The link below thankfully does that.
Oh and in case you're wondering about the girl thing in the car. Well I still stand by it and if you want to learn more about the human body better drive a petrol car. No one likes it sweaty or freezing unless you're a perverted jerk.
I'll leave you with an interesting fact. If Germany manages to achieve its target of having 1 million electric or hybrid cars on the road by 2020, the reduction in greenhouse gases will equate to an inconsiderable 0.1%. Doesn't the world have other issues which are of greater relevance to humans, their lives and their survival?
Posted by Hawk at 12:41