Audi RS5, Suzuki Hayabusa, Volkswagen Taigun and Mercedes-Benz E 53 in the August 2021 issue of evo India
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The August 2021 issue of evo India is one of our fastest yet! We go flat out on the new High Speed Track at the incredible NATRAX proving grounds in the new Audi RS5 Sportback, in an India exclusive review. If maxing out the RS5 wasn’t enough, we have taken the all-new third generation Suzuki Hayabusa — one of the fastest motorcycles in the world! — and let it loose on the track as well. But NATRAX isn’t just about hitting top speeds. It is a massive 3000 acre facility built at a cost of ₹1321 crores that includes handling tracks, comfort track, the skid pads and even labs to test out every aspect of a car and bike.
To supplement our story at NATRAX, we have a brilliant feature story on other proving grounds around the world that this one in India stands shoulder to shoulder with. Other drives include the insanely capable Sherp UTV, we break down everything you want to know about the new Lotus Emira, drive the Mercedes-AMG E 53 and bring the E 63 S along for perspective, review the Mahindra Bolero Neo, and the facelifted Mini Cooper S Convertible. On two wheels, we get our hands on the TVS iQube in real world conditions, ride the retro Yamaha FZ-X and figure out which Kawasaki 650 is the best for you.
Meanwhile, the motorsport section of the magazine takes a look back at Valentino Rossi’s incredible career as he announces his retirement, we look at Jehan Daruvala’s weekend in Silverstone and also how Mahindra Racing fared in the London E-Prix. Our TUNED section features a tuner favourite, the Skoda Octavia RS and also showcases the incredible Novitec F8 N-Largo. All this and so much more in the August issue of evo India!
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Audi RS5 Sportback at NATRAX
The Audi RS5 is back! The new generation RS5 has just been launched in India in the four-door Sportback body style and we bring you this India exclusive review from the NATRAX proving ground on the outskirts of Indore. The RS5 has swapped out its mental nat-asp V8 for a twin-turbo V6 that makes the same amount of power and has even more explosive performance, despite the smaller engine. We hit V-Max on the High Speed Track, but also tested out ride and comfort on the comfort track, pushed its dynamic ability on the handling track and had some fun on the skid pad. The story also takes and in-depth look at the whole NATRAX facility and what it could mean for OEMs, suppliers and tyre manufactures in India.
Suzuki Hayabusa at NATRAX
The Audi RS5 may not have the ability to hit 300kmph but the Suzuki Hayabusa certainly does. Back in its third generation in 2021, the Hayabusa takes its tried-and-tested package and refines it for the modern day. With a reworked engine that makes less power but manages to be faster, an updated chassis and a comprehensive suite of electronics, the Hayabusa is more effective and yet easier to ride than it has ever been. This is the fastest we’ve been on a motorcycle yet!
How do you test a car that can do over 300kmph safely? Proving grounds are test facilities all over the world that allow OEMs to test their cars in absolute extremes: be it heat, cold or at the highest possible speeds. With the NATRAX putting India on the world map, we take a look at some of the other proving grounds around the world including the Mobis proving ground in Sweden, Nardo in Italy, the Nurburgring and Death Valley.
Great Driving Roads
In a bid to do things differently this month, we get off the national highways and look for a more secluded road that can deliver with brilliant views and brilliant roads. We take the road from Bhor to Wai, two towns in the Maharashtrian heartland with a brilliant mountain road that connects them. It is an old-school road, the type that existed before the likes of our current national and state highways which is why we picked a sedan for this particular route: the Hyundai Verna
The Sherp N1200 starts where your 4x4 stops. The most capable off-roader we have ever tested, the Sherp is a UTV that is designed for disaster relief, humanitarian relief, military use and essentially to go where cars and other forms of mobility cannot reach. And it isn’t just capable on land — the Sherp actually floats on water with the massive tyres acting as floatation devices, thus staying unbothered by the depth of the water it needs to cross. It really is machine unlike anything else out there!
The Lotus Emira is set to be the last purely combustion engined production car for Lotus, and it is an important one. Having been in development for the last four years, the Emira bring the full might of the new owners Geely and could be the most significant car for Lotus since the Elise. It will come with the option of one of two engines: sourced from Toyota or Mercedes-Benz, a brand new chassis and will also be produced in an entirely new production facility. This story breaks down everything you need to know about the new Emira.
Mercedes-AMG E 63 S and E 53
Mercedes has brought back the E-Class AMG with not one, but two variants! The E 63 S gets a facelift that includes refreshed styling and interiors while the the E 53 has been introduced to India for the first time. The latter has a turbocharged straight-six but still makes a competent 429bhp, and gets a mild hybrid system to add even more performance on demand. The 63 is a proper hooligan with more power and a drift mode, while the 53 works better as an everyday performance car. We drive them together to get some perspective!
Nissan Magnite: Early adopters
We head to Kerala to speak to a few Nissan Magnite owners about their experiences of owning the car, in the days leading up to Onam. Donny Panikulam loves the fact that it is feature laden, Roshin Robert loves the value for money proposition that it is and Dr K S Sobhana loves the way it looks. In this story, we speak to them about what prompted them to get one and how their time has been with their cars so far.
After having experienced the Skoda Kushaq, we get behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Taigun. Based on the same MQB-A0-IN platform and available with a choice of 1-litre and 1.5-litre TSI engines, the Taigun should deliver on VW’s strengths of performance and dynamics. It isn’t just styling that differentiates the Taigun from its cousin, it also gets a different features list. We have tested the GT and the GT Plus variants with the manual and DSG transmissions respectively.
Mahindra Bolero Neo
The Mahindra Bolero Neo is essentially a TUV300 that has been refreshed for 2021, with differentiated styling and mildly tweaked interiors and gets a mechanically locking differential to add to already strong off-road credentials. Being the only body-on-frame SUV in the sub-4m segment, it promises to be a robust performer on the terrible roads that India has.
Mini Cooper S Convertible
The Mini Cooper S Convertible gets a facelift! In addition to the usual business of getting refreshed styling, Mini has given the car new features including a digital instrument cluster and wireless charging. Oh, and a smattering of Union Jack flags all over the place. Is this the most fun you can have under Rs 50 lakh?
Having ridden the TVS iQube on a test track previously, we take the electric scooter out on to the streets to test its real world performance including range and running costs. The iQube is a mighty tempting proposition now, particularly with the new Fame II incentives that reduce its price to just Rs 10,000 over the TVS Ntorq.
Kawasaki has three motorcycles that share the same 650cc engine in India — the Ninja 650, the Versys 650 and the Z650! The parallel twin displaces 649cc and makes 67bhp on the Ninja and Z, and a little less than that on the Versys. Does the fact that these motorcycles share an engine mean they feel the same to ride, or do they have their own individual characters? But more importantly, we want to find out which of these motorcycles will be the best fit for you!
Tuned: Octavia RS 230
A Skoda Octavia RS230 that has been souped up to make over 300bhp, but still remains incredibly reliable. With an ECU and TCU tune, a revised intake, exhaust and even upgrades to the suspension and brakes, this is an incredibly cool Octavia RS build that won’t empty your bank account.