A close look at the Hi-tech Police Motorcycle prototype

We hitch a ride on a motorcycle prototype specially customised for Mumbai's traffic police.

Gabriel interacted with traffic police officers to understand their needs before starting work on this prototype.
Getting your car or bike customised can be a rather expensive affair. As a result, automobile customisers cater to a niche market, that’s more often than not the hard core auto buffs with cash to spare. Enter Gabriel Zuzarte, a Vasai-based entrepreneur who’s created a custom bike with one specific target audience in mind, Mumbai's very own police brigade. Gabriel’s intention has been to ensure his creation matches up to a motorcycle truly fit for a cop.
Christened the ‘Hi-Tech Police Bike’, his prototype is loosely based around an age old police favourite, the 350cc Royal Enfield Electra Twinspark. This prototype retains the stock mechanicals and chassis of its donor motorcycle. The additions are slight modifications and a whole lot of tech that helps make life easier on the road for policemen on duty. 

This is a dual purpose siren and speaker system.
What catches your eye first are the wide front fairing and large metallic boxes positioned behind the pillion seat, as well as on either side of the bike. The front fairing houses two potent LED lights and a night-vision enabled high-definition CCTV camera, this to record footage of anything happening around the bike. The leg-guard has been modified to hold a fire extinguisher on the right and dual siren and speaker system to the left.
The bike comes with a removable first aid box, it’s essential medical equipment positioned under the rider’s seat. The battery-box, originally housed here has now been displaced to the centrally located top box. Gabriel chose to keep the first-aid box within easy reach of the rider to ensure swift medical help is always at hand for anyone in need. 

There’s rather interesting boxes at the back as well. A box on top contains a laptop, this even connected to its own printer, allowing the traffic police the freedom to book offenders while issuing them ‘challans’ on the spot! The laptop is equipped with dummy software, which Gabriel was happy to demonstrate to us. The policeman needs to open a specific program and select the offences committed from a list of available options. Next, the printer issues a receipt, faster than you could say 'presto'. Once approved, the new software could perhaps be synced to a central server that allows traffic police to immediately identify and deal with habitual offenders. 
Then there’s a second night-vision-enabled high-definition CCTV camera. The front and the rear cameras run continuously to capture footage while the cop rides his bike. The footage from the cameras is continuously recorded and simultaneously streamed live via the internet to the police control room as well, this allowing department officials continuous awareness. The bike connects to the internet courtesy a dongle. There’s also a hard disk, router, an inverter and a few additional plug points, in case our on-duty policemen need to charge their phones or walkie-talkies. To cope with these extra power requirements, the prototype gets a bigger 18amp, 12V battery.

The removable first aid box is positioned under the rider's seat, where the original battery box used to be located.
Within the motorcycle left side box comes additional storage for essential equipment that on-duty traffic cops typically use, water bottles, a high power torch, high visibility jackets, raincoats, hats, pollution masks amongst others. 
Gabriel estimates his modifications add about 20-25kg. On close examination, one notices Gabriel has paid good attention to the little details while designing his bike. There are all-metal footpegs that won’t bend or break easily if the bike is dropped while parking. All three boxes come with railings around the top for riders to place their helmets without scratching the bike’s paint. Keeping in mind traffic cops are forced to ride over varied terrain, there’s Pirelli on-off road tubeless tyres, wrapped around alloy wheels.   

The rear also gets a night-vision enabled high-definition CCTV camera and LED blinkers.

Before embarking on developing this prototype, Gabriel went around Mumbai interacting with numerous traffic police personnel, gathering a first-hand report of the numerous problems they face on a daily basis. The police indicated macho Royal Enfield bikes are their favourites, and that’s how his creation is based on one.  
The idea of customising a motorcycle for the police, struck Gabriel in 2010, while watching an episode of ‘Orange County Choppers.’ It’s cost around Rs 5 lakh to customise this prototype, entirely sponsored by his generous mum-in-law. The good news is that Gabriel’s ‘Hi-Tech Police Bike’ has already received an NOC, or No Objection Certificate from the Thane RTO and is ready to be test-ridden by the Mumbai police. Once the elections are over and cops have time, they will start taking Gabriel’s prototype out for a spin.

The fire extinguisher has been attached to the right side of the leg guard.

his prototype is based on a 350cc Royal Enfield Electra Twinspark. 
Although this is just a prototype, the quality of customisation is so good it doesn’t look or feel like one. This police motorcycle prototype is close to a stock Royal Enfield loved by our cops, but smothered in extra functionality and oodles of desirability. Apart from making Mumbai’s traffic cops look good on duty, the ‘Hi-Tech Police Bike’ will also make their job a lot easier. Post approval, I can think of just one problem Gabriel’s prototype might create for himself; making enough bikes because we’re certain all of our police force will be vying to get their hands on one.

Courtesy: AutoCarIndia dot com

A Smaller SUV from Porsche

Porsche AG will unveil its second SUV, the Macan, at the Los Angeles auto show next week

2014 Porsche Macan

The new crossover, which will go on sale worldwide next spring, is smaller than the midsize Cayenne SUV, Porsche’s most popular model. The car will share its platform with the Audi Q5 crossover.
The Macan is expected to be offered in the U.S. with a choice of turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine or 3.0-liter V-6. The vehicle will be produced at Porsche’s expanded factory in Leipzig, Germany.
Porsche aims for first-year sales of 75,000 units globally for the Macan, whose name is derived from the Indonesian word for “tiger.”

Courtesy: AutoCarIndia dot com 

Jaguar C-X17 Concept


Jaguar, thanks to its partnership with Land Rover, has long resisted the siren call to develop an SUV or crossover, concentrating instead on sedans, coupes, and sports cars and leaving more truck-like products to its sibling company. But evidently the popularity of these utilities is something that Jaguar could no longer ignore; at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the company took the wraps off what a crossover cat might look like.
The C-X17 has the face, sleek lines, and fender vents that you’d associate with the XF or XJ sedan, but in a taller, two-box shape more closely aligned with an SUV. The big difference from other luxury crossovers, however, is Jaguar’s commitment to using aluminum structures for less mass and greater efficiency and performance.
Underpinning this concept is an architecture that will first see the light of day in a new compact Jaguar sedan, first in Europe and then in the United States a year later. The C-X17 would have a unibody construction that incorporates the frame elements into the sheet metal itself.
At 185.7 inches long, the C-X17 would slot into the midsize-SUV market against such competitors as the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK. Power would come from a longitudinally mounted V-6 engine with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. While Jaguar hasn’t formally committed to building the C-X17, the flexibility of the aluminum unibody design for the next-generation compact sedans demonstrates that the company has the capability to quickly enter the fast-growing crossover market.

Courtesy: report dot com

Beijing 2014: Lexus NX SUV revealed

Lexus aims to take on Audi and BMW in the mid-size luxury SUV market with the new NX SUV.

Lexus’s entry into the mid-size luxury SUV market makes its debut at the Beijing motor show next week. The NX is the firm’s answer to the likes of the Audi Q5 andBMW X3, and will sit alongside the company's other, larger SUV offerings, the RX, GX and LX.
The NX production car is a follow-up to the controversial and dramatically styled LF-NX concept from the Frankfurt motor showlast week. While the look has been toned down somewhat from the concept, the production car is still a bold, angular design in a class where conservatism typically rules.
Indeed, at the concept’s unveiling, Lexus design project manager Nobuyuki Tomatsu said the firm wanted the NX “to be a very influential car — one to make its rivals look boring”.
Lexus is hoping the new model will bring new customers to the brand, the NX standing as a “hero model”, one that will “set new standards for future Lexus models”.
The exterior design features an enlarged version of Lexus’s now familiar family spindle grille flanked by slim headlights and strips of LED daytime running lights. The flared wheel arches house 17-inch alloys in regular models and 18-inch wheels in F Sport versions.
Other exterior design features include a heavily sculpted bonnet, a sloping roofline, sharply creased lower body sides, and the continuation of the angular theme from the front to the rear of the car.
Lexus says it has taken inspiration from sports cars for the five-seat interior, which also adopts the angular design of the outside. The premium look and feel of the cabin includes a thick-rimmed leather-wrapped steering wheel, a full-leather finish for F Sport models, and a large central screen out of the dashboard for the infotainment display.
Equipment includes a wireless charging function for portable devices, such as smartphones, a touch-pad controller for the infotainment options, a head-up display and a information display that includes a G-force sensor.
Engines offered worldwide include Lexus’s familiar petrol-electric hybrid system in the NX300h, a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (a Lexus first) in the NX200t, and a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol in the NX200. Each will be offered with front- or all-wheel drive. As ever, Lexus doesn't offer any diesel engines in its range.

Courtesy: AutoCarIndia dot com

Jaguar XF 2.0-litre petrol review

Jaguar XF 2.0 petrol sedan is the carmaker's most affordable petrol car here. We get behind the wheel to see whether the Jag experience is intact.

Jaguar XF 2.0-litre petrol.

The downsizing trend at Jaguar continues and this time, it’s a new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that has made its way into the XF’s bay. Priced at Rs 48.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), this small capacity Jaguar is the most affordable petrol Jag, by far. But, has downsizing diluted the Jaguar experience or does it retain the character of a true-blue Jag?
Straight off the bat, don’t let the lack of cubic capacity throw you off. This relatively petite direct injection turbocharged mill squeezes out an impressive 237bhp and 34.7kgm, giving it a bit more muscle than its similar-engined rivals. Transmission is via a ZF-sourced, eight-speed automatic that drives the rear wheels.

As a result, the 2.0-litre petrol Jag looks quite impressive on paper and importantly, it barely loses out on equipment when compared to the top-spec XF. So, all the essential kit you would expect from a luxury sedan is here. There is dual-zone air-conditioning, GPS navigation, 11-speaker audio system, mood lighting, touch-screen interface (which could be a bit more intuitive), reversing camera, leather upholstery and Bluetooth connectivity. Both the comfortable front seats get powered adjustment too. And then there’s the same fantastic interior that seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern elements. The mix of leather, wood trim and brushed metal is more alluring than the industrial feel of a German car’s interior. Even on the outside, Jaguar hasn’t left many tell-tale signs that announce ‘base variant’ either. Also, unlike the downsized 2.2-litre diesel XF, you get dual exhausts poking out of the back, further concealing the car’s relatively lower sticker price. 

In fact, since the interior is quite identical to the top-spec car, the chauffer driven won’t really be able to tell the difference at all. However, unlike your chauffer’s comfy front seat, the XF’s rear bench isn’t as cosy. Yes, while there’s more than adequate knee room, the smallish seat squabs lack the kind of under thigh support found in luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz E-class.

So, while this new variant retains its aesthetic and luxurious bits, what is this 2.0-litre petrol engine like from behind the wheel? Simply put, this four-pot isn’t as charismatic as the larger sixes and V8s but from a practical standpoint, it’s more than adequate. Leave it in ‘D’ and the XF does just fine, upshifting early and ambling around at low revs. However, the power delivery is a tad spikey and if you nail the accelerator, the gearbox shifts down, at times up to four ratios, swiftly propelling you forward and may catch you a bit off-guard in slow moving traffic. Twist the gear-selector to ‘S’ and the response improves significantly, making it a lot easier to dart into vanishing gaps. For its lack of displacement, it’s a reasonably quick car too. Flat-out, 100kph comes up in 8.65 seconds and the motor packs enough oomph to comfortably breach 180kph. If you choose to manually cycle through the eight-speed, the steering-mounted paddle shifters are quite quick to react to inputs and deliver as expected.

What’s impressive though is the fantastic level of refinement this motor has. It revs smoothly and keeps noise and vibrations at bay. Only when pushed to its limit, the engine lays down a muted sporty soundtrack that’s rather entertaining. 
In terms of ride, the higher profile tyres aid in better bump absorption and the XF's ride feels soft  for the most bit. However, while it makes easy work of expansion joints and small crinkles, the suspension setup doesn’t fully insulate the cabin from thuds and audible crashes when driven over sharp edges. At highway speeds and overall, it doesn’t ride as flat as a Mercedes E-class or a BMW 5-series but it’s not as firm as the Germans and has a more rounded edge to the ride quality. As for handling, the XF grips the tarmac well and the steering wheel provides adequate feedback and is predictable around the bends.

Just like its downsized diesel counterpart, the 2.0-litre petrol XF gives you pretty much the full XF experience with just a slightly watered-down engine. Yes, the chauffer driven won’t enjoy the best rear seats in the segment but, the ‘low-cost’ XF retains the same charming interiors that feel quite special, especially at night. Also, compared to the ‘German three’, Jaguar’s exclusivity means this ‘entry-level’ XF still turns a lot more heads.
However, during the car’s stint with us, it came across as a bit thirsty, averaging about 6-7kpl in mixed driving conditions. And, since this 2.0-litre petrol XF is priced quite similarly to the 2.2-litre diesel, the latter will prove to be substantially cheaper in terms of running costs. That said, the refined nature of this engine definitely makes a strong case for itself. And for some, this may take priority over running costs, especially if you clock limited kilometres.

Courtesy: AutoCarIndia dot com

Fiat Avventura and Abarth 500 on display in Mumbai

The two cars will be on display at Fiat’s showroom in Prabhadevi for three days.

First revealed at the Auto Expo, Fiat's Avventura concept is essentially a more rugged version of the Punto.

Fiat is displaying its Punto-based Avventura concept and the Abarth 500 at its Prabhadevi showroom in  Mumbai from March 20-23. Prospective buyers from Mumbai who couldn’t attend the Auto Expo, where these cars were first displayed, now have the opportunity to see them up close.
First revealed at the Auto Expo, Fiat's Avventura concept is essentially a more rugged version of the Punto. The concept comes with 200mm ground clearance and larger wheels, which are likely to improve its rough road tackling capabilities. It also sports a tail-gate-mounted spare wheel, mouldings on the side, protective skid plates and fully functional roof-rails.

The Fiat 500 Abarth sports aggressive styling and is expected to be powered by a 137bhp 1.4-litre turbo engine. It also gets stiffer springs and dampers for better handling. Fiat is expected to launch the Abarth 500 in the second half of the year.

Courtesy: AutoCarIndia dot com

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