Luxury car makers have been aggressively vying for the top spot in India for quite some time now. Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz are the top contenders in this market with multiple releases from all three brands in the year 2013. Expect 2014 to follow the same pattern.
1. Mercedes Benz:
Mercedes Benz may be the oldest of the German Big Three but it has lost its status as the No.1 luxury car maker in India. However Benz is all set to reclaim that crown with its latest releases. Apart from the S-Class which was launched recently, the company also plans to introduce:
- Mercedes Benz GLA Class: Crossovers seem to be the trend all over the world these days and so even Mercedes has unveiled its latest offering: The GLA Class. First unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show last year in April, the GLA is quite similar in terms of design to the A-Class. It features a more rugged exterior for improved off-roading capabilities and will be powered by a 2.0 L turbocharged petrol engine. It is expected that the GLA will receive a bigger engine when released in India and will be offered in both petrol and diesel variants.
>Expected Launch Date: June 2014
>Expected Price Range: Rs. 27-30 Lakhs
>It’s Rivals: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Volvo V40 Cross Country
- Mercedes Benz CLA: The CLA is one of the first cars that introduced us to Mercedes Benz’s new design philosophy. It features a more youthful styling as opposed to the conservative styles of previous gen Mercs. Placed just below the C-Class, the CLA will be the Benz’s new entry-level sedan that just might prove to be its game changer. The CLA comes with three petrol engine options producing 122 hp, 156 hp and 211 hp. A diesel engine that produces 170 hp will be also available.
>Expected Launch Date: May 2014
>Expected Price Range: Rs. 25 – 30 Lakhs
>It’s Rivals: Audi A3, BMW 1 Series
Audi is currently enjoying phenomenal success here in India and worldwide. Entering almost every car segment there is, they have extended their reach far beyond what anyone could imagine. From the Q7 to the Q3, the A8 to the A1 and the RS4 to the R8, Audi has a car for everyone. With more than ten models already on sale in India, Audi plans to release another model this year.
- Audi A3: First unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the A3 is positioned right under the A4. Although the car is cheaper, Audi has not skimped on safety features that include ABS-EBD, ESP and airbags. It will also feature Audi MMI. The petrol variant will likely be powered by a 1.8 L TFSI engine that produces 168 hp and 320 Nm of torque and the diesel variant will likely have the same setup to produce 141 hp and 320 Nm of torque. Given Audi’s popularity in India, the A3 will definitely be a huge hit once it releases.
>Expected Launch Date: January 2014
>Expected Price Range: Rs. 25-30 Lakhs
>It’s Rivals: Mercedes Benz CLA, BMW 1 Series
BMW is not releasing any new cars in the lower price segments.Considering how well the X1 and 3 Series have been doing, it doesn’t look like they need to. They do however have a couple of cars lined up for the off-roading and sports car enthusiasts.
- BMW M5: BMW have never tried to make the M5 look any different from the 5 Series it is derived from. The beast of a car was somewhat of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But now BMW seems to have dropped this subtle approach with the latest iteration of their iconic M5. The new model features a reworked exterior that includes massive air intakes, double slit front grille and a few other changes under the hood as well.
>Expected Launch Date: Mid 2014
>Expected Price: Rs. 1.21 crore
>It’s Rivals: Mercedes Benz E63 AMG, Audi RS7, Porsche Panamera
- BMW i8: The first hybrid electric sports car to be released in India, this is easily one of the most eagerly anticipated cars of the year. The i8 is powered by a 1.5L turbocharged petrol engine that produces 231 PS and is coupled with an electric motor that produces 131 PS. This results in a total of 362 PS of power and 570 Nm of torque. With a top speed of 249km/h and a staggering 0 – 100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds, the i8 is definitely no pushover. Futuristic styling combined with an almost unbeatable mileage, the i8 has the makings of a worthy contender in the sports car segment. One thing’s for sure, this car is definitely going to be the highlight of the Delhi Auto Expo.
>Expected Launch Date: Fourth Quarter of 2014
>Expected Price: Rs. 1.5 crore
>It’s Rivals: Since it has no direct competition, the i8 is set to clash with the generic sports cars available today.