2011 Volkswagen Routan

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Volkswagen Routan
Somewhere a hippie is weeping. Elsewhere a camping enthusiast is wondering where he'll be sleeping next. For decades, Volkswagen vans have been the go-to vehicles for these two groups -- not to mention surfers and High Times subscribers. So while the 2011 Volkswagen Routan is indeed a van with a VW in its grille, the fact that it's a mainstream minivan intended for families (and thus substantially more people) is sure to leave a few Deadheads crying into their pints of Cherry Garcia.
They might find some solace in the fact that the Routan is really a Volkswagen in name only. Behind its unique front fascia and underneath its slightly higher-quality interior is a Dodge Grand Caravan. You thought it looked familiar, didn't you? This heritage brings with it a number of advantages and disadvantages.
To kick things off in a positive way, the 2011 VW Routan inherits the Dodge's (and Chrysler Town & Country's) new 3.6-liter V6 that produces more power and gets better fuel economy than both Chrysler-sourced V6s found in the Routan last year. Beyond this, the Routan continues to provide the sort of interior layout and space expected by American minivan customers, while also offering family-friendly features like power sliding doors, a DVD entertainment system, heated rear seats and an iPod interface. A new integrated Garmin-sourced navigation system is now available for those who want route guidance for less money than the premium navigation system with its real-time traffic and other advanced features.
However, all of that also applies to the Grand Caravan and the Town & Country. Last year, we would've told you that the Routan stood out with better driving dynamics and a substantially nicer cabin. But for 2011, the Chrysler vans have closed the gap considerably (if not completely). Plus, the Chryslers still include Stow 'n Go seats and a few other features not available in the VW. And from a long-term ownership standpoint, you have to wonder how vested VW is in the Routan or what the service experience of a Chrysler vehicle at a VW dealership might be.
As such, it's hard to think of a significant reason why someone would opt for a 2011 Volkswagen Routan rather than one of its American siblings. But it's also important to note that the Chrysler minivans are far from class leaders. The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna would be our picks and we highly suggest looking at those models first. The new Nissan Quest is also worth considering, as its unique interior layout and styling might be appealing to those looking for something different than the typical minivan. They certainly won't be getting it from the 2011 VW Routan.
The Routan's greatest advantage over the Town & Country is the quality of the Volkswagen interior materials. The Routan takes advantage of most of the T&C's thoughtful entertainment features, but lacks the innovative seating options that give the Chrysler an advantage in the minivan class. The Routan seats are comfortable, however. Folding the third row and removing the second row turns the Routan into a capacious cargo van. Where hard plastic dominates the dash and doors of the Town & Country, the Volkswagen Routan has nicely padded door armrests and a quality soft-touch upper dash. It's not all luxury level, though. The lower dash is hard plastic and the trim piece that bisects the dash is thin plastic. The white-faced gauges with black numbers are sourced from Chrysler. Surrounded by a faux aluminum trim piece, they are not that easy to read in bright sunlight.
The radio is set high on the center of the dash, and VW offers a version of Chrysler's UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS hard-drive radios called JoyBox. JoyBox is also offered in two versions, one with a navigation system and one without. Both include a touchscreen, both come with one year of Sirius satellite radio, and both have a 30-gigabyte hard drive that holds music and picture files. Those files can be ripped from a CD or downloaded from a thumb drive plugged into the vehicle's USB outlet. When the navigation system is ordered, the hard drive also holds navigation map information. The navigation system has voice activation. An optional Garmin navigation system is available for the Routan SE. Routan's controls are easy to use, though those on the right of the radio or touchscreen can be a bit of a reach for the driver. The climate controls are located below the radio, and they're self explanatory. The gearshift is mounted between the radio and the instrument panel. It's easy to reach, leaves plenty of room for other controls, and includes an electronic gear readout in the instrument cluster.
Room up front is plentiful. There is plenty of head room, and leg room will only be lacking for the tallest drivers. The front captain's chairs provide an upright driving position with an SUV-like view of the road. A tilt steering wheel and available adjustable pedals should help most drivers tailor a comfortable seating position, but some might prefer a telescoping steering wheel to bring the wheel closer to the driver.
When it comes to storage, the Routan has two glove boxes and some cubbies in the center stack for small items storage. A total of 13 cupholders are found throughout the Routan SEL. The standard console has four integrated cupholders and a small storage bin. The Routan SEL's premium center console has four cupholders and a small bin on top that slides back to reveal a larger storage bin below it. The lower bin also slides back. With both layers slid back, the top level moves back a total of 21 inches, which allows parents up front to pass drinks and sandwiches to the kids in back. The premium console is also removable to allow easy access to the back seats.
In the far back, the Volkswagen Routan has a deep well behind the third row, which makes hauling groceries easier. Even with all seats up, the Routan has 32.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row. The third-row seat is split 60/40. It folds into that well in one or two sections. Three straps are attached to the back of each seat and they're marked 1, 2, 3. To fold the seats into the floor, first pull strap 1, then pull strap 2. You have to give strap 2 a good yank and help the seat along with your other hand. It can require leverage that some moms might not have. Strap 3 pulls the seats back up. A better option is the power folding third row seat, which can be set to four positions, including what VW calls the tailgating position. In this position, the seatbacks act as seat bottoms and the bottoms act as backs facing the rear of the van.
The second row a pair of captain's chairs that recline. The backs can fold flat on top of the bottoms for loading flat cargoes on top of the seats. Or the second-row seats can be removed, though they're heavy and you need somewhere to store them. With the second-row seats removed and the third-row seats folded, the Routan has a flat load floor, 144.0 cubic feet of cargo volume, and enough space to fit a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood.
A DVD rear-seat entertainment system is available with nine-inch video screens in the second row and third row. When the vehicle is in Park, video can be sent to the front navigation screen, allowing front-seat passengers to watch movies. Video game systems can be plugged in, and each row can watch or play something different. Four sets of headphones are provided.
The Routan shares the same boxy shape as the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, but its face wears Volkswagen's sloping grille and lower air dam. The headlights incorporate rounded sections for the outboard bezels, similar to the lights on the Passat and Volkswagen's SUVs. Exterior features include:
  • Optional power sliding doors
  • Optional power liftgate
  • Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
  • Optional fog lights
  • Optional roof rack
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan comes in S, SE, SEL, and SEL Premium trim levels, all powered by the new 283-hp 3.6-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. All models are front-wheel drive.
Volkswagen Routan S ($26,930) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, four-way manually adjustable front bucket seats, two-passenger reclining second-row fold-flat bucket seats, third-row stowable split folding bench seat, manual side doors, cruise control, conversation mirror, power heated exterior mirrors, power front windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, auxiliary audio input jack, automatic headlights, engine immoblilizer, three years or 36,000 miles of free maintenance, and P225/65R16 tires on steel wheels with wheelcovers.
Routan SE ($31,770) upgrades to V-Tex Leatherette upholstery, 6CD changer, Bluetooth, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, lumbar adjustment for front passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals, second-row captain's chairs, power sliding side doors, overhead storage system, steering wheel audio controls, second- and third-row sunshades, universal garage door opener, security alarm (in addition to the engine immobilizer), stowable roof racks, and P225/65R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. The Navigation System ($2,980) features integrated Garmin DVD Navigation and sound system with Sirius Satellite Radio. The Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2020) includes second- and third-row nine-inch video screens with headphones and remote, Joybox AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 sound system with hard disc drive and USB connection, rearview camera, and power liftgate with floodlamp. Routan SEL ($37,390) upgrades to leather upholstery, HDD touch-screen navigation, three-zone automatic climate control, auto-off headlights, power sunroof, auto-leveling rear suspension, remote engine starting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats. The Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2000) includes second- and third-row nine-inch video screens and additional DVD player.
Routan SEL Premium ($43,240) includes 506-watt nine-speaker sound system, high-intensity discharge headlights, power liftgate, chrome mirrors and door handles, memory-activated exterior mirrors, power-adjustable pedals with memory, 115-volt power outlet.
Dealer-installed accessories are available, ranging from running boards to several different roof racks and a range of towing equipment. A dealer-installed wireless router can connect to devices up to 150 feet away.
Safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, tire-pressure monitor, ABS with brake assist, traction control, and electronic stability control. 2011 Routan models also come with side-impact airbags for the front-row seats and a knee airbag for the driver. Optional safety features include rear park assist and a rearview camera.
The 2011 Volkswagen Routan comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes and brake assist, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is available.
The Routan has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. However, its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) were a perfect five stars in front and side crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Routan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
The Volkswagen Jetta has historically bridged a gap between salt-of-the-earth compact cars and Germany's entry-level luxury sedans. In the past, people who bought a Jetta were just as likely to have also considered a BMW 3 Series or a Honda Accord. There was a premium quality to the Jetta that its buyers recognized as worth the extra cost of admission. Even so, Volkswagen believes this price premium also kept more people from considering its compact sedan in the first place, so the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta represents a dramatic shift in philosophy.
For the first time in the car's 30-year history, the 2011 Jetta is not the sedan version of the 2011 VW Golf. On the positive side, the new Jetta has a longer wheelbase for more rear seat room. But we're not fond of the revised steering, standard rear drum brakes and the base model's 2.0-liter engine. Additionally, the Jetta's interior no longer boasts the upscale materials and thoughtful little details that used to give it a premium feel.
So why all these changes, when in most ways they make the Jetta less desirable? The answer is price. The new base model Jetta S costs less than $15,000, and VW points out that it's actually $1,700 cheaper than a 2000 Jetta when you consider inflation. At the same time, the Jetta also boasts more standard features for the money than a Honda Civic. Add this to its big-car interior and you have a super-sized Jetta for American consumers who expect the kind of value you get at Costco.
Simply taken as it is, the 2011 VW Jetta is a solid choice for a small or midsize sedan. With its spacious interior, plenty of standard features and exclusive offering of a fuel-efficient clean-diesel engine, the new Jetta holds its own against other top choices like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte and Mazda 3. But for every customer who will notice the Jetta's smaller price and bigger size, we think there will be just as many previous VW customers put off by the new car's obvious cost-cutting.
We've heaped considerable praise on VW interiors in the past because they generally offer exceptional materials and thoughtful details that surpass some so-called luxury cars. Unfortunately, much of that is gone in the 2011 Jetta sedan.
Take the dashboard: The previous Jetta's dash was finished in an upscale soft-touch material with nice graining. While the new sedan's dash retains the eye-pleasing graining, it's now made of a hard plastic that sounds hollow if you rap on it with your knuckles. This is less of an issue for me than it is for some people, as I don't spend much of my time in a car touching the dashboard. (And if you do, I suggest you seek professional help.) What's more problematic is that the upper part of the door trim — where you actually might want to rest your arm — is made of hard, uncomfortable plastic, too.
The prior Jetta also had a wonderful front center armrest that you could slide forward and backward and set at various heights. The armrest isn't adjustable any more, but rather just opens to reveal the storage bin beneath it. It's also set at an odd, downward-sloping angle that isn't very comfortable. Furthermore, the controls for the manual air-conditioning system have a sloppy, unrefined feel, and overall interior fit-and-finish doesn't seem as good as the old model's.
I understand that in an effort to make the Jetta more affordable, something had to give, but the problem is that these issues are present in the relatively upscale SEL trim, not just the low-priced base model.
Because the previous Jetta's interior quality was at such a high level compared with its mainstream competitors, the new sedan's less-refined interior is now just competent, as opposed to class-leading. There's no question the cabin represents a step backward on this front, and while it might not bother shoppers coming from a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, current Volkswagen customers will notice the changes right away — and they probably won't be pleased.
The Jetta's front bucket seats are supportive, and it was easy to find a comfortable driving position. All models have manually adjustable seats, and it's nice to see that Volkswagen replaced the knob for reclining the backrest with a lever, though the lever is in an awkward spot on the side of the seat.
The sport seats that are part of the 2.5 SEL's optional Sport Package have more aggressive side bolsters to hold you when cornering, but the seats are wide, so they're not overly restrictive. Cloth upholstery is standard, but the seats in the cars I tested had Volkswagen's V-Tex simulated leather, which looks and feels quite a bit like the real thing.
Backseat space is where the Jetta has a clear edge over its competitors. When sitting in the back of models like the Civic, Corolla and Nissan Sentra, my knees generally touch or press into the back of the front seat. I'm 6-foot-1, and in the Jetta I had an inch or two of space between my knees and the front seat when it was positioned for me to drive. In combination with its large 15.5-cubic-foot trunk, the Jetta is roomy enough to comfortably carry four adults and their things.
Completely redesigned, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is 3 inches longer than the previous-generation models, with a wider track.
The 2011 Jetta is considerably more shapely than before with curves that are subtle and sweet. The shape stands out in white, and appears most elegant in that color, prettier than the black and silver SELs that we tested. There are body-colored door handles and there's little chrome trim, going against today's grain, sticking to the traditional notion that clean is beautiful. It is, and it shines on the new Jetta. Even the new grille is anti-chrome, with black horizontal bars that look good in basic black, as well as a tray-shaped front spoiler under the front bumper that suggests the splitter on a racing car. It's an upscale improvement over the previous Jetta's bigger mouth.
Nowhere is the new Jetta overstyled or oversculpted; VW has it over BMW in that area. The lines are expanded and more graceful, while still being totally Jetta. They are crisp and precise, with strong wheelwells, smooth roofline and attractive C pillar. The new nose and shoulders, viewed from the side of the car looking forward, give the front end an attractive Infiniti-like roundness.
At the rear, there's a neat aerodynamic lip at the trailing edge of the remote-opening trunk, and powerful taillights.
The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S ($15,995) comes with the 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Standard Jetta features include cloth upholstery, four-speaker audio, heated mirrors, halogen headlamps, 60/40 split folding rear seat.
A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on all models, a 6-speed automatic is optional ($1100). All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturers Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include the destination charge and may change at any time without notice.
Jetta SE ($18,195) upgrades to the 170-hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. Jetta SE trim also adds V-Tex leatherette upholstery, cruise control, 16-inch wheels, interior storage and lighting, pass-through to the trunk. The Jetta SE with Convenience package ($19,545) upgrades to leather trim, heated seats, six-speaker audio with MDI media device interface with iPod, Sirius and Bluetooth, steering-wheel controls, alloy wheels.
Jetta SEL ($21,395) adds navigation, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, chrome trim, fog lamps, keyless entry, and lumbar adjustment for driver.
Jetta SEL Sport ($22,995) features a firmer suspension, sport seats, aluminum pedals, and sunroof.
Jetta TDI ($22,995) uses the turbocharged diesel engine. The TDI Navigation ($24,195) adds navigation, keyless access, foglamps, chrome trim and rear disc brakes.
Safety features on all Jetta models includes six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control, and the mandated tire monitor.
The 2011 VW Jetta comes standard with traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. All Jettas have antilock brakes with brake assist; however, the S and SE have rear drums. The SEL and TDI get rear discs. In Edmunds brake testing of an SEL, the Jetta came to a stop from 60 mph in a better-than-average 117 feet.

New BMW X3 Review, Test Drive

We drive the soon-to-be launched BMW X3 and here are our first impressions. Despite being far more attractive than the earlier X3, this is not a design that makes you go ‘wow’ instantly. It’s a handsome looking car for sure, with attractive details and nicely designed sections but, it is also a bit of an acquired taste. You take a bit of time to ‘get’ the appeal of the tucked-in waistline, the pitched forward belt-line and that very upright bonnet.
As one would expect, there’s more than a bit of the X5 in the X3’s details. The kidney grille looks very similar, the heavy looking bumper is there on this car too and look at it from the rear and you’ll swear this is BMW’s full-sized SUV. The new X3’s footprint is actually almost the same as the original X5 – BMW’s iconic first SUV – which means this car is both longer and wider than the outgoing X3. But the increase in size hasn’t brought a corresponding increase in mass. This new car actually weighs 15kg less than the earlier car with the same specification.
The X3 is actually based on the estate or Touring version of the 3-series, and so what you get is a monocoque or ‘frame-in-body’ construction, a longitudinally placed engine in the nose and independent car-like suspension for all four wheels. X in BMW terminology stands for four-wheel drive, and this car uses an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to distribute torque between front and rear axles. To improve efficiency, this version comes with auto start-stop that switches the car off at signals, and this BMW, like recent examples, comes with an electric steering for greater efficiency too.
On the road, a heavy 1.8-tonne kerb weight, an upright SUV stance and a two-litre 181bhp diesel don’t exactly spell performance. But generous torque from the motor and the presence of the eight-speed gearbox improve things considerably. There is considerable grunt in the midrange, the gearbox is quick to downshift, and this allows it to keep up with traffic quite easily.
However, the X3 lacks the ability to suddenly up the pace at these speeds. The motor constantly has to work hard and performance is only really good in the midrange. Stability at speed is far more impressive. The X3 tracks faithfully even at very high speeds, there is absolutely no hint of nervousness and the BMW feels glued to the road even at speeds in excess of 180kph. A light but firm touch is all you need on the wheel, there is no sloppiness in the way the X3 changes lanes, and the brakes have plenty of bite and stopping power as well. The X3 is also well insulated and feels quite refined at speed. There is very little tyre roar, the car rides silently over expansion joints.
In fact so silent is the rest of the car, you sometimes hear wind swishing over the mirror and the ‘A’ pillar.
On smaller roads I decide to switch back to ‘Normal’ mode to soften the dampers. And the effect is immediate. Despite having large 18-inch wheels, the X3 simply glides over many of the rough patches and holding onto a particular line is no problem either. The X3 also feels easy to punt around and navigate through the centre of some small towns. The light, electric steering and compact dimensions of the car make it quite easy to thread through narrow cobblestone streets and parking with the electronic driver aids is quite easy too.
In ‘Sport’ mode, the dampers firm up nicely and body control is much tighter and the steering feels weightier too. Unfortunately, this feels a bit artificial and odd and I miss the light but very precise feel of the system in Normal.
On smaller roads, the X3 also feels substantially quicker than out on the open roads. Performance for these roads is more than adequate and using the strong mid-range delivers a decent kick. You do need to place the gearbox into S if you want to drive in a spirited manner though. This motor doesn’t have the strongest bottom end and looking for performance when the eight-speed ’box is shifting up as often as it can for greater efficiency does get a bit frustrating.
What’s vastly improved however are the interiors of the X3. This one feels as big and as airy as Audi’s Q5 on the inside. The width of the cabin is impressive, the wide dashboard makes this feel like a full-sized SUV and BMW has used first-rate materials too. The design of the soft-feel dash is full of attractive curves and swoops, a smart looking metallic strip has been used on the bottom of the central console and this and other metallic insets help lift the mood of the cabin.
The instrument panel is nearly identical to that of a 5-series, the air-con and audio system controls are like the 3-series, and the seats are identical to the 3-series as well. BMW has used sumptuous double-stitched leather to cloak the insides, door pads included, and you get the full bells and whistles iDrive too. Also on this car, is BMW’s Dynamic Drive Control that allows you to toggle between Normal, Sport and Sport + at the touch of a button.
At the rear, you sit a bit low but legroom is surprisingly good and the backrest is very supportive too. The seats can be folded and flipped for additional luggage space but with the standard 550 litres available, we doubt you’ll ever feel the need to make use of this feature.
The new X3 is on much more solid ground than the outgoing model. It is more spacious on the inside, is both beautifully crafted and built, and it looks larger on the outside too. It may not be as much fun to drive as the earlier car and performance from the 2.0 motor isn’t spectacular either. But the new X3 delivers almost everything Indian luxury SUV buyers seem to be looking for. This really does feel like a slightly scaled-down version of BMW’s bigger X5. All BMW needs to do now is deliver this SUV at a competitive price, from somewhere around Rs 40 lakh, and watch the order books fill up. 

2011 Volkswagen GTI

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Volkswagen GTI
Mark Twain famously wrote, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." Judged on statistics and track numbers alone, the 2011 Volkswagen GTI would be one of the least desirable of the currently available sport hatchbacks. But that's a lie. In reality, the GTI is a front runner among the competition.
Sure, the 2011 Volkswagen GTI isn't as quick to reach 60 mph as the competition, nor can it weave through the slalom or cling to a skid pad as tenaciously. How then, you ask, can the GTI rank so highly in such a sport-oriented segment? The answer is two-fold: refinement and drivability.
The VW GTI's interior is quite simply, the best in its class. It's so nice, in fact, that it could be mistaken for a cabin from sister company Audi, save for the plaid fabric seats. (About those private school uniform-patterned coverings -- it's a nod to the original GTI from more than three decades ago.) The GTI also boasts surprising amounts of rear legroom and useful cargo space considering its compact overall size.
Drivability is the other main advantage the 2011 Volkswagen GTI has over other sport hatches. Output from the 2.0-liter turbo engine is smooth and linear, and that power is more manageable in the real world than that of more feisty rivals. Competitors like the Mazdaspeed 3 and Mini Cooper S suffer from torque steer -- the sensation of the steering wheel tugging in your hands under hard acceleration -- that many drivers find distracting.
In addition to the Mazda and Mini, other performance hatchbacks to consider include the all-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart and Subaru Impreza WRX. Certainly, there's a lot to like about all of these cars. But if you're like Mark Twain and don't blindly go by the numbers, you'll find the 2011 GTI an ideal pick -- the sum of its parts can't be quantified with statistics alone.
The GTI cabin is businesslike without being austere, a place the driver can appreciate and passengers will find quite accommodating. It's nicely trimmed and well-assembled, the level of fit and finish better than you might expect for the price knowing money also got spent on the engineering. You might argue the instruments and switches benefit from Audi influence, or the other way round since VW owns Audi.
Heated sport seats are standard up front with a fair range of adjustment, long cushions for long-legged support, excellent bolstering that contains you without restricting movement or entry and exit, and comfort for all-day drives. Leather is available yet we find the standard cloth better breathing and a bit less slippery if you're of slender build.
The rear seats are designed for three-across seating, but as usual this is better for slim adults or children; more bolstering might be beneficial for some passengers but would compromise flexibility. There are three adjustable headrests, reading lights, cupholders, and storage bins, but the side windows open only on four-door models (the seats and space are the same). It may not be a long car but it is roomy; we put four 6-plus-footers in a moonroof model with no complaints thanks to the hatchback roofline.
Both front seats slide forward for entry/exit and with big side doors make the two-door a realistic proposition. With the narrow part of the split-folding rear seat behind the driver, a tall driver with the seat well back can still carry longer loads and two rear passengers, or one passenger in back and really long things over a reclined front seat.
A tilt and telescoping column with a flat-bottom, heavily contoured steering wheel, a good dead pedal and nearby brake and shifter allow anyone from 5-foot to 6-foot, 5 inches to find a comfortable driving position. Any option pack adds controls to both wheel spokes and automatics have shift buttons behind, so it's rare to need to remove a hand from the wheel.
Gauges are basic white-on-black analog with large engine and road speed, and 270-degree sweep fuel and temperature inside them. A central display handles trip computer and radio data, exterior temperature, door-open warnings and so forth. The audio and navigation systems are new for 2011, MP3/iPod compatible, most touch-screen and Bluetooth controls are roof mounted. Climate control is three-ring simple and unlike many cars each of the center vents can be closed independent of the other.
Storage is reasonably good. The sides of the bin ahead of the shifter double as places to brace a knee, door pockets have good space and bottle holder contours, but the center-console under-armrest room is good for little more than a smartphone and pack of smokes.
Outward visibility is very good. Outside mirrors are low and the inside high enough that neither blocks any vision even on climbing switchbacks. The bottom of the windshield is unobstructed the full width of the dash and the top is high for an excellent view forward, and the rear pillars are so far away they don't compromise quarter views.
Behind the seats there is 15 cubic feet of trunk space; a bit less below the cargo cover. Folding the rear seats expands that to more than 40 cubic feet bettering some SUVs. The cargo area also has tie-down loops, grocery bag hooks, three baby-seat tethers, a multitude of cubby holes underneath and a surprise below: the spare tire and wheel are identical to the other four so you avoid temporary-spare or run-flat speed limits and wondering where the flat tire will go.
The GTI is based on the VW Golf, and both received a new exterior last year that made them more angular and menacing. The GTI has some unique features, including a thin, blackened honeycomb grille with two red outlining stripes; different front and rear bumpers; side skirts; and GTI badging. It also rides slightly lower than the Golf. Exterior features include:
  • Standard 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual tailpipes
  • Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights

The front-wheel-drive 2011Volkswagen GTI is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (called DSG) is optional. The DSG transmission can be shifted manually via the shift lever or paddles on the steering wheel, or it can operate as a standard automatic.
In testing, the GTI accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, which is slower than the competition by at least half a second. It is also on the pokey side in terms of handling, turning in a 67-mph run through the slalom and pulling 0.84g on the skid pad.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 24/32 mpg city/highway for DSG-equipped models and 27 mpg in combined driving. The manual transmission achieves slightly less, at 21/31/25 mpg.
Standard safety equipment for the 2011 Volkswagen GTI includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Last year's optional rear-seat side airbags for the four-door have been discontinued.
In government crash testing, the GTI sedan earned four out of five stars for frontal crash protection of the driver and front passenger and five stars for side impact driver protection. In performance testing, braking from 60 to zero mph required 129 feet, which is a full car length longer than the Mazdaspeed 3's impressively short 115-foot halt.


BMW presents mobility of the future

BMW presents mobility of the future

BMW presents mobility of the future

BMW Unveils Mobility Of The Future

The BMW Group has showcased its visions of future mobility in the shape of the i3 Concept and i8 Concept studies. These concept vehicles provide a glimpse of the first electrically powered production cars from the new BMW i sub-brand, due to be launched as the BMW i3 in 2013 and the BMW i8 in 2014.
“We are marking another milestone in the history of the BMW Group. As chairman of the Board and an engineer myself, I am very proud of this project,” declared Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the premiere of the two vehicles in Frankfurt on July 29. “As the world’s leading premium car manufacturer, our aim is to offer customers purpose-built electric-drive cars as well,” he added.
With its zero-emission electric drive and a range of approximately 150km, the i3 Concept has been specifically developed for use in an urban environment; its dynamic 125 kW electric motor and rear-wheel drive ensuring BMW-style dynamic handling. Thanks to its innovative LifeDrive architecture featuring a carbon passenger cell, the i3 Concept combines an extremely low weight of 1250kg with optimal interior space and the highest crash safety levels. With four seats and a 200-litre luggage compartment, this vehicle is fully suited for everyday use.
BMW i3 Concept: A revolution in car design
“This vehicle will mark the launch of the first volume-produced car featuring bodywork largely made of carbon. It’s a revolution in automotive design,” stressed Klaus Draeger, member of the Board responsible for development.
The application of this new CFRP technology allows a weight reduction, compared to a conventional electric car, of between 250 and 350kg, and that means more dynamic handling coupled with a greater range. The BMW i3 does the 0 to 100kph sprint in less than eight seconds, while a high-speed charger achieves an 80 percent battery charge in just an hour.
Thanks to the emission-free drivetrain and a value added chain designed to be sustainable all along the line, lifecycle emission figures for the i3 are at least a third lower than for a highly efficient combustion-engine car. If the i3 is run on electricity from renewable sources, the figures improve by well over 50 percent.
BMW i8 Concept: New-generation sports car
The i8 Concept goes from 0 to 100kph in less than five seconds and boasts fuel consumption of under three litres per 100km. Its plug-in hybrid drive with a system output of 260 kW allows a range of up to 35km in electric mode  sufficient for most everyday journeys. For more dynamic driving or out-of-town route, a high-performance three-cylinder petrol engine also comes into play. The sports car has an electronically governed top speed of 250kph and space for up to four occupants.
“The BMW i8 Concept is the sports car for a new generation - pure, emotional and sustainable,” ”Draeger underlined.
With BMW i, the BMW Group is corroborating its position as the most innovative and sustainable auto manufacturer in the world. With BMW i, it is providing answers to the mobility challenges of the future while pursuing a holistic approach. In addition to purpose-built premium vehicles with electric drive, the company is also offering intelligent mobility services.
Both the i3 and the i8 will be built at BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany. Some 400 million euros are earmarked for investment in new buildings and facilities by 2013, while 800 new jobs are to be created. Vehicle production will be CO2 neutral and will draw on renewable resources. The company is currently investigating the possibility of erecting its own wind turbines on the plant site

2011 Volkswagen Golf

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Volkswagen Golf
Getting more for your money is elusive no matter what you happen to be purchasing. Imagine your Starbucks barista saying, "Thanks for your order. Here's some gold bullion as a token of our gratitude." Or, "Here's your new 2011 Volkswagen Golf; we decided to upgrade you to an Audi free of charge." That latter buying fantasy may not be so far-fetched, however, as the Golf delivers Audi-like refinement, style and versatility without breaking the bank.
Compared to other vehicles in its class, the VW Golf feels positively upscale. Its interior puts others to shame (including VW's own 2011 Jetta) thanks to a sophisticated design, top-notch materials and all-around comfort. Add in optional niceties like a premium Dynaudio stereo and a navigation system and the fairly economical Golf can begin to feel like a near luxury car.
The advantages continue under the hood, with a choice of a punchy 2.5-liter inline-5 engine or a highly fuel-efficient turbodiesel rated at 42 mpg on the highway. The rest of the Golf is up to the task as well, with a solid on-road feel, precise steering and confidence-inspiring handling. Much of the Golf's goodness comes courtesy of a redesign last year.
If you're shopping in this segment, you'll find that the Mazda 3 offers sharper handling and more cargo capacity, but its interior can't match the Golf in either design or quality. The more affordable Hyundai Elantra Touring is also worthy of consideration given its space, features and sporty leanings, as is the personable Mini Cooper, though its higher price and lack of space are difficult to ignore. In the end, the 2011 Volkswagen Golf rises to the top by exceeding expectations and delivering that all-so-elusive impression, "more for the money."
Inside, the Volkswagen Golf shows a Teutonic dedication to austere functionality. Brightwork is confined to touches on steering wheel spokes, around air registers, door handles and tasteful outlines on various knobs and the shifting gear. Textures give good touch. A contrasting silver ish strip separates top and bottom dash sections and dresses the uppermost element of the door trim panels. Completing the Bauhaus-ian theme is the cloth upholstery, to which the Golf offers no option.
The Golf feels roomier than it looks, and it is, actually, equaling or at least competitive with the other major players in its niche. This includes the Chevrolet Cobalt, which it betters everywhere, including trunk space by 1 cubic foot. About the same holds true for the Focus, while the Civic's trunk holds three fewer foot-square boxes. However, the Ford Focus offers a half inch more rear-seat legroom than the Golf. The Honda Civic coupe trails the Golf 2-door in rear-seat headroom by more than three inches, a huge difference.
The front seats are comfortable. Getting in and out of the car is easy, in spite of sporty seat bolstering. That bolstering is welcome when exploring the Golf's relatively high handling limits, as is the grippy cloth upholstery. The eight way adjustable driver's seat works well with the tilt and telescope steering wheel to allow all but the tallest and the most stout drivers a nearly perfect triangulation with steering wheel, pedals and shift lever. Even the front seat passenger gets eight way adjustability for the seat.
Air conditioning and sound system controls are comfortably basic in shape, size and duty. Knobs and buttons handle the essential operations.
Selections the navigation system's touch screen permits while the car is in motion appear in large, finger friendly, virtual buttons that require only a glance by the driver to identify their assigned duties and then can be manipulated in the driver's peripheral field of vision. Or better yet, the passenger can press them.
Outward visibility is excellent, unimpeded except for the large C-pillars (the rearmost roof supports).
Redesigned for 2010, this is the sixth-generation Golf. Over the years, body proportions have remained stoically the same, making the Golf instantly recognizable.
The stylists did a good job of giving the C pillar (the body panel behind the rearmost side window) a consistent shape and proportion on the 2 door and 4 door, given the reality of both cars sharing the same wheelbase and being equal in overall length. A clearly defined character line tracks rearward from the top of the front fender blister all the way to the upper taillight element, giving the rear fenders a hint of a shoulder. Wheelwells encircle the tires leaving the barest of gaps, visually pulling the car down onto the pavement. Minimalist door handles are snug for hands wearing anything larger than medium size gloves. Gaps between body panels are pencil thin, which suggest high-quality construction.
Taillight housings mirror the ovoid shape of the headlights, boosting the rear fenders' shoulder look the aforementioned side body panel character line establishes. The wraparound rear window glass fills the top of the lift gate. An outsized, round VW logo parked in the middle between the taillights doubles as the lever for opening the liftgate.
The TDI is distinguished from the 2.5-liter gas model by an eponymous chrome logo beneath the right taillight, balancing the chrome GOLF logo both cars wear below the left taillight.
Volkswagen will offer its 2.5-liter five cylinder engine that the Golf/Rabbit shares with the Jetta and Beetle as well as the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel that is currently in the U.S. Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen. The updated five cylinder powerplant is good for 157 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque while the diesel makes only 137 hp but an amazing 236 lb-ft of torque.

VW is expecting the diesel powered Golf to account for 30 percent of all sales of the hatchback in the U.S. Volkswagen is posturing the diesel as a sportier model and it will come equipped with a sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch wheels as standard fare. The diesel Golf should be good for 48 mpg or more on the freeway.

The 2011 VW Golf's standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are unavailable on two-door models, but are optional on four-door models. In government crash tests, the four-door Golf with the optional rear side airbags received four stars out of five for frontal impact protection and a perfect five stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Golf with its highest score of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2012 Volkswagen Passat
If you've always wanted to drive a classy European sedan but have been put off by that nagging voice in your head telling you it's your patriotic duty to buy something built in America, you'll want to check out the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.
This all-new midsize sedan combines many of the qualities that likely drew you to German cars in the first place, including elegant styling and a more sporting driving character. But it's also the first vehicle to roll out from VW's brand-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Compared to the previous Passat (which, incidentally, continues to be sold elsewhere in the world), it's meant to better appeal to American tastes, with a roomier interior, a new selection of engines and (most important) a significantly lower price.
As for the engine lineup, last year's gutsy 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is no more. Instead, VW gives you a choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter inline-5 we've come to know in the Jetta, a 2.0-liter inline-4 diesel (the TDI, also from the Jetta and Golf) or a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. All of them offer some form of six-speed automatic transmission, while the two smaller engines are offered with manual gearboxes as well. The TDI diesel is certainly the most interesting, as it promises more than 40 mpg on the highway and a maximum cruising range of nearly 800 miles.
We suspect some prior owners of VW's mainstream sedan will lament the change in direction for the Passat, as it used to be a distinct bridge between regular family sedans and entry-level luxury cars. But the fact is VW's entry in the crowded family sedan category is now a better fit for the majority of consumers. It's priced right, drives well and finally holds a family of five comfortably. And thankfully, it still has its German roots.
There are some minor downsides to the new Passat package, notably the underachieving base engine. And given the state of the midsize segment, we certainly recommend buyers compare the Passat back-to-back with top choices like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. Those interested in a somewhat sportier driving experience may also want to consider the Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima. But for all that, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat remains uniquely positioned to satisfy your desire to drive European and own American.
I've been critical of Volkswagen's decision to remove some of the upscale cabin niceties in its redesigned Jetta compact sedan in order to price the car more competitively. Likewise, the new Passat goes without some features that VW enthusiasts might appreciate, like a height-adjustable front armrest, but the overall materials quality, attention to detail and standard features — like one-touch up/down power windows for front and rear occupants, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity and dual-zone automatic air conditioning — make the Passat competitive with the best the family sedan segment has to offer.
The Passat has grown some with its redesign — 4 inches in length, half an inch in width and half an inch in height — but the cabin feels substantially roomier than the outgoing Passat. Legroom and shoulder room have increased — considerably in some instances. I'm 6-foot-1, and even with the front seat adjusted for me, the backseat has nearly as much legroom as a long-wheelbase full-size sedan, which the Passat isn't. This is the kind of car four tall adults could take on a long road trip and arrive no worse for wear — even those sitting in back.
The cavernous passenger area doesn't come at the expense of cargo room, as the trunk measures a competitive 15.9 cubic feet. It's very deep and rectangular, with few intrusions. A 60/40-split folding backseat is standard, and lowering the rear backrests reveals a large opening between the trunk and the cabin.
One of the Passat's most impressive qualities is its forgiving suspension, which translates into comfortable highway cruising. The four-wheel independent suspension yields ride quality that's nearly as soft as a Toyota Camry's, but with better body control over big dips and rises. It's a departure from the previous-generation Passat's firmer ride, but the move makes a lot of sense for this car class, where comfort is more important than sportiness.
As with other Volkswagens, the Passat has light-effort steering whether you get the gas engine, which uses hydraulic power steering, or the diesel, which has electric power assist. The steering wheel provides virtually no road feel — typical for this class — but good precision makes it easy to steer on winding country roads.
Despite the comfy suspension tuning, the Passat doesn't turn into a wallowing mess on serpentine roads. For a big sedan, body roll is well-controlled. All versions of the Passat have the same suspension tuning, but wheel sizes range from 16 to 18 inches.
As such, it's impossible to avoid the term "out of date" when considering the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat VR6, even though its narrow-angle, 280-horsepower, 258 pound-foot 3.6-liter engine is the one that will make enthusiasts' hearts palpitate most -- even more so than the 140-horsepower, 236 pound-foot 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel. VW is chasing Honda with its new midsize car, and the Accord, after being a V-6 holdout in the '90s, is now the biggest overall-length car in this segment, offered in four-cylinder and V-6 iterations.

In case you haven't kept up, the '12 Passat, exclusive to the North American market, though likely to be a model for China, is a couple of inches longer than a Toyota Camry, 2.5 inches shorter than the Accord, but with a wheelbase 0.2 inches longer than Accord's. It shows in the commodious rear seat's sumptuous legroom and headroom.
VW promises extensive use of high-strength steel, emphasized by the manufacturer's estimated weight. These estimates typically fall short of ours, in which we fill the fuel tanks, but the Passat VR6 comes in at 3,446 pounds, just 49 pounds heavier than a similarly equipped TDI model and 225 heavier than a five-cylinder model with automatic transmission.

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In the event of a crash, a new feature called Intelligent Crash Response automatically cuts off the fuel supply, unlocks the doors and turns on the hazard flashers.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat's character depends a great deal on which engine is under the hood. Performance from the 2.5-liter five-cylinder is adequate and should be an acceptable choice for most buyers, but fuel economy and performance are nowhere near best-in-class. The alternative, the 2.0-liter turbodiesel in TDI models, offers significantly better fuel economy and livelier low-end power, but highway passing can be a challenge due to its modest horsepower output.
For those not satisfied with the above, the 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers much more enthusiastic acceleration. The DSG automated manual transmission that's available with the turbodiesel engine and standard with the V6 works very well, and its regular and manual-shift modes mean the Passat is well suited both for commuting and more spirited driving.
On the move, the Passat is an engaging sedan to drive thanks to its well-sorted suspension tuning, precise steering feel and strong brakes. The car also manages to earn high marks for ride comfort, which is ultimately more important considering the fact that most buyers will be far more concerned with schlepping kids to school or co-workers to lunch than burning up winding back roads.


High-end Mercs under single roof


Shaman Group has put up on sale a cluster of high-end and exclusive vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz stable. The Mumbai showroom has put on display cars like the E-Coupe, E-Cabriolet, SLK 200, SL350, ML, GL and the R-Class – all under one roof.
These CBUs are exclusive and lifestyle Mercs which are purely built keeping performance, exclusivity, safety and luxury in mind. This collection of CBUs is rare a sight as buyers don’t get to see a variety of high-end Mercedes under one roof. These brand new cars are for selective buyers and can be customized as per the buyers’ demands.
Prices of these Mercs start from Rs 58 lakh and goes up to Rs 1 crore (on-road Mumbai). The 184bhp SLK 200 is available at Rs 58 lakh, the 272bhp E 350 Coupe is priced at Rs 75.33 lakh and for those who want an open-top four-seater GT can opt for the E 350 Cabriolet for Rs 82.89 lakh. The SL 350, which can be termed as the most desirable and stylish car on Indian roads, is also put up on sale for a staggering price tag of Rs 1.03 crore.
In the SUV class you could opt for the ML 350 CDI for Rs 69.30 or if you want something that has spacious interiors and a perfect blend of on- and off-road capabilities then look no further than the GL range that starts from Rs 79.40 lakh for the petrol variant, going up to 95 lakh for the Luxury diesel variant. And if you are keen on buying a luxury MPV then you have the R350L that is available for Rs 79.53lakh.
Prospective buyers can check out the cars at the Mercedes-Benz Shaman outlet at Kalina

New spy pictures of Hyundai HA

We’ve got our hands on another spy picture of the Hyundai HA, this time with fewer covers as compared to the cars spotted earlier. The test mule was spotted by our alert reader Roshan Vignesh being tested near Chennai.
Its evident from the pictures that the HA carries a cab-forward stance, similar to the i10. And considering its strong shoulder line and the severely raked A- and C-pillars, it suggests that this baby Hyundai will be a recipient of the company’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language, which is full of sharp cuts.
With the HA, Hyundai is aiming at stealing some of the Nano’s thunder by pricing it in the range of Rs 2-3lakh. At this price point, it will be able to compete with the top-end versions of the Nano and scaled down and slashed products from Maruti as well.
The HA will be based on a pared-down Santro platform, which already costs Hyundai very little and the company will leverage its already fully localised powertrain as well. The motor that powers the car will be an 814cc three-cylinder version of the Epsilon engine in the Santro, developing approximately 48bhp, and Hyundai will carry over other bits and pieces from the Santro too.
Hyundai knows how to build quality products that are well engineered, well suited to Indian conditions, deliver very good fuel economy and the company is at the top of the game as far as parts and service are concerned too.
Expect Hyundai’s all-new small car, the HA to be launched towards the end of 2011 or early 2012.

2012 Volkswagen GLI

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2012 Volkswagen GLI
Traditionally, there haven't been many cars to choose from between "econosport" compact sedans typically made by Japanese manufacturers and pricier luxury sport sedans normally produced by German automakers. Seeing an opportunity, Volkswagen filled that void years ago with its GLI, a Jetta fitted with the GTI's performance-oriented engine and suspension tuning. We liked the last iteration (VW dropped it after 2009) and now the concept has been reborn as the 2012 Volkswagen GLI.
It's easy to be a little concerned about the idea of a snappier version of the new Jetta, since we haven't been very fond of the all-new small VW sedan so far. The car reflects a number of changes designed primarily to make it more affordable, notably lower-quality interior pieces, a wheezy engine for the base model and a relatively unsophisticated rear suspension (not to mention rear drum brakes on the entry-level models). Granted, the new Jetta offers a roomier backseat and is still a nice car. But as we noted in our review of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, you pay less, but you also get less.
Thankfully, 2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI undoes many of the base model Jetta's changes. The GLI's interior is nicer, and out back there's a more sophisticated multilink rear suspension for improved handling. And as before, you get the GTI's sportier suspension tuning as well as its 200-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which proves both energetic and fuel-efficient. The GLI doesn't offer the best handling or performance among similarly priced hot hatches and sedans, but it makes up for this with a comfortable ride, a quiet cabin and a generally more refined nature.
As with the previous GLI, the 2012 Volkswagen GLI should be an appealing niche choice. But overall appeal is down this year, as we feel that there's too little styling-wise to differentiate the GLI from the rather dull-looking Jetta. That's a subjective negative impression to be sure, but the GLI practically disappears next to competitors like the upcoming Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Si, Mazdaspeed 3, Subaru WRX and VW's own GTI -- all of which are fairly stealthy in their own right. Given the Jetta GLI's size and price, we also think the Kia Optima SX is worth serious consideration as well.
Inside, the GLI features sport bucket seats with red stitching and a sport flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching, the GLI logo and aluminum accents. The overall interior styling consistently follows the sporty exterior lines of the car. The Jetta GLI is available in cloth or V-Tex Leatherette and also features alloy pedals, shifter, dash and door trim.

To increase versatility, the rear bench seatback is split 60/40 and folds. The trunk can also be opened from inside the car by a remote unlock switch.
On the exterior, Volkswagen Jetta GLI combines performance, space and comfort in one sleek package. This car has a length of 182.2 inches, height 57.2 inches and 70 inches wide. he front end of the car is defined by prominent horizontal lines. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI grille and the car’s trapezoidal headlights help create a distinct look. Below the bumper is a cooling water intake and tray-shaped front spoiler That completes the masculine look of the car. The upper front end section shows a powerful transition from the v-shaped engine hood to the Fenders on the sides while the shoulder section Provides dynamic and muscular styling. The aggressive styling of the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is powerfully emphasized by the arches of the wheel wells available with 17 “or 18″ alloys. Sleek lines and sporty shoulders dominate the rear section. The smoked taillights stands out with two distinct sections on Either side extending from the fender into the tailgate above the dual exhaust tips. In the interior of the Volkswagen Jetta GLI stays true to its roots sport and performance. Featuring sport bucket seats with red stitching and a flat-bottom sport steering wheel with red stitching, the GLI logos and aluminum Accents, the interior styling consistently follows the clean, sporty lines of the car. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI is available in cloth or V-Tex Leatherette and Also features sleek alloy pedals, shifter, dash and door trim.
Taking its drivetrain from the Volkswagen GTI, the GLI will use a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque. Mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG transmission, the Jetta GLI should hit 60 mph in just under seven seconds regardless of gearbox. The DSG comes with steering wheel-mounted paddles for sequential-style shifting and rev-matched downshifts.

VW says the EPA is not yet done evaluating the GLI, but thanks to the vehicle being lighter than the previous GLI, highway fuel economy is expected to come in at 31 for the manual and 32 with the DSG automatic.

Driving Impressions

We have yet to drive the 2012 VW GLI, but if we were to extrapolate our experiences with the Jetta and GTI, we would expect it to be a well-rounded sedan that provides athletic handling, a comfortable ride, swift acceleration and excellent fuel economy. "Balanced" is the word that frequently comes to mind with VW's higher-performance cars, as they trade the sort of high-speed thrills that some competitors offer for a more livable and easy-to-drive nature.

2012 Volkswagen Eos

Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2012 Volkswagen Eos
Eos was the ancient Greek goddess of the dawn, known for her daily ritual of opening heaven's gates to welcome the sun. The 2012 Volkswagen Eos does much the same thing with its retractable hardtop convertible roof or unique built-in sunroof. Yet unlike its goddess namesake, the VW Eos doesn't get a lot of respect -- and we're not talking about offerings of wine and goat meat.
The Volkswagen Eos tends to be forgotten among the convertible ranks despite its many advantages. Besides its innovative roof, the Eos has a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine (shared with the GTI, among others) that delivers punchy power and high fuel economy, and a quick-shifting DSG automated manual transmission. The impeccable cabin is built to a standard that exceeds similarly priced convertibles, and offers abundant standard features that help justify its price premium over other competitors like the Chrysler 200, Ford Mustang and Mini Cooper.
With its size and front-wheel-drive layout, the Eos claims a middle ground between those cheaper models and luxury drop tops like the Audi A5 and BMW 3 Series, and is a must-look for buyers considering convertibles on either end of the price spectrum.
So why hasn't the Eos enjoyed better success? We can only think of a couple of reasons. For one, its backseat is small (although you weren't expecting palatial rear space in a convertible, were you?). And perhaps the Eos' pedestrian styling, which despite being updated for 2012, doesn't really stand out in a segment where looks are prized. Finally, the Eos doesn't move with any particular verve, although it's an adept and comfortable cruiser. Ultimately you'll decide whether these are deal-breakers, but we encourage you to give this little convertible a chance -- and maybe some needed respect.
Inside, not much has changed, but chrome trim has been added around power window buttons and light switches. Uplevel versions of the Eos get real walnut wood trim as well as Vienna leather upholstery. For 2012, the base model now gets a standard, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, which incorporates trip computer and audio controls. In addition, an intelligent key system will now be offered, as is HD radio in U.S. models.

The Eos's clean and nicely equipped interior is only slightly modified, with revised gauges and a new HVAC control panel. In Europe, VW will offer a few more options, including an automatic high-beam function and a self-parking assistant, and a keyless entry and start system—including convertible-top control—is available for the first time. It's not quite clear, however, how many of these options will be available in the U.S., where our obsession with pre-packaged, take-it-home-right-now vehicles—instead of individualized, custom-ordered cars—makes a longer options list a greater liability for dealers.

The new Eos should continue to be offered in Comfortline and Highline trim levels. The equipment list, standard or optional, includes adaptive bixenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, a touch-screen navigation with USB port, SD media card slot and hard drive, a 12-way power driver’s seat and Bluetooth connectivity.
Eos, the Titan goddess of dawn, is reborn: At the Los Angeles auto show, Volkswagen is unveiling a heavily face-lifted version of the Golf-based folding-hardtop convertible. The Eos is the latest VW to receive the company's new signature look, with a wide, horizontal grille—instead of the chrome tongue conceived under former chief designer Murat G√ľnak—and a general cleaning up of stylistic clutter. The cutesy, round headlights of the early Eos are now replaced by rectangular units that house VW’s characteristic U-shaped LED daytime running lights, and the LED taillights lose their glitzy white circle for an M-shaped look. There's now a rear diffuser, presumably to allow higher cornering speeds, should you track your Eos on weekends.

Gone are the teardrop headlights, replaced by slimmer units with more detailed clusters. The chrome grille is disappearing from VW products, replaced by a conventional bumper and a black three-bar grille with subtle chrome accents.

The car’s hindquarters also got some changes, with a redesigned bumper that incorporates an air diffuser as well as new LED taillights. In general, the Eos now looks more than ever like a Golf, which makes us wonder why VW is selling a Golf convertible in Europe.
That's also why, for the U.S. market, the Eos keeps a 2.0-liter four-cylinder TSI as its only engine. This engine, derived from the EA888 engine family, makes 200 hp and is coupled to a six-speed "wet" dual-clutch transmission. (No word yet on whether the six-speed manual will remain available in the U.S.) We suspect that top speed remains limited to 130 mph, and 0–60 times should stay below seven seconds. In Europe, the Eos will enjoy a vast lineup of engines, ranging from a 122-hp 1.4-liter to a 210-hp 2.0-liter TSI that can propel the Eos up to 147 mph. There also will be a 140-hp, 2.0-liter diesel. The sweet, 260-horse, 3.6-liter VR6 model sold in Germany is gone.
The 2012 Volkswagen Eos comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, pop-up rollover bars and front side airbags that extend upward for head protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the VW Eos earned the top rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Volkswagen Eos is for drivers who want a relaxed touring convertible. On models without the sport suspension, there's too much body roll and vague steering for serious twisting fun. But on the boulevard or a coastal highway, the Eos is perfectly pleasant thanks to its soft yet composed ride. The Eos' turbo four-cylinder contends with more weight compared to VW's GTI, for example, but it's still torquey and capable. And when the weather prevents top-down motoring, the retractable hardtop provides coupelike isolation.

Red Bull to enter road car market


Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing wants to be recognised as a serious engineering firm away from the racetrack, and will use its recent tie-up with Infiniti to move into road car development.
RBR boss Christian Horner told Autocar he wants to “use Red Bull’s expertise outside F1”. Horner said, “Red Bull used to be known only as an energy drink company, but now it is recognised as an engineering team. It’s a natural evolution for us to get involved in road car engineering.”
Chief among the Infiniti/RBR plans is a co-developed sports model in the mould of the Renault Clio Williams, although Nissan’s luxury arm has not yet disclosed which car will receive this treatment. Infiniti insiders are already suggesting brand awareness is rising because of the F1 tie-up, which has been aided by hiring RBR driver Sebastian Vettel as a company ambassador.
Infiniti’s European plans away from its RBR alliance include two new model lines, four-cylinder engine options and more hybrid cars. The new models include a crossover in the Ford Focus class inspired by Infiniti’s Etherea concept and a Nissan Leaf-based electric car with a greater range and improved performance.
The Renault-Nissan union with Daimler will yield Infiniti four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, while the brand will also extend its hybrid offerings, some developed in-house, others with Mercedes-Benz.
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