A Stinging Gauntlet From The Mahindras

Updated: Jun 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
What do Mahindra & Mahindra do to make a car better than most cars The answer they give is we decided not to make a car. And when they made up their mind not to make a car, but a world class vehicle, way back in 1996, they began with a small idea. When the idea grew and metamorphosed into an ambitious project, automobile industry watchers started whispering, murmuring and then talking about the Scorpio.

To those who have been keeping their eyes and ears open on this project, the only information available was that it was going to be a sports utility vehicle (SUV). The rest was a well-kept suspense. But at long last, the suspense is over. Unveiled last week in Delhi was the fruit of the labour of a 120-member team from M&M, who dared to attempt to make an all-new vehicle with an all-new engine. With the formal launches of all three of its variantsRev 116 (petrol version), Turbo 2.6 and Turbo 2.6 DX (diesel versions)in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai through, M&Ms dream vehicle, Scorpio, is all set to sting the Indian roads.

As Alan E Durante, executive director and president, Automotive Sector, M&M, says, This vehicle is a bundle of world class technology and every way, it is a statement in itself.

Considering the fact that the form-fitting seats are from Lear Corporation USA; the suspension system is from Samlip, Korea; the shock absorbers from Armstrong; the air-conditioning from BEHR, Germany; the latches and door closing mechanism from Meritor, UK; the tyres by Bridgestone and the music system from Kenwood, Mr Durantes opinion does not appear to be an overstatement.

In addition, the 2-litre, MPFI Renault petrol engine with 116 bhp output, which can accelerate from 0 to 60 kmph in around 8 seconds; or the 2.6 litre turbo intercooled DI diesel engine developed in collaboration with AVL-Austria, which churns up a torque up to 25 kgm (the highest in its category today) and reaches 60 kmph in under nine seconds, whet the desire of those looking for power. Thats why Rakesh Jejurikar, vice-president, Marketing, Automotive Sector, M&M, says proudly, This is for the young and the dynamic. He hastens to add that the eight seater capacity means that the Scorpio is meant for families as well.

Aesthetics wise, the Scorpio, despite its sturdy looks, has an aerodynamic stepped roof design and wrap-around glass headlamps with multi-faceted reflectors. The front grille has a stylish look, matched suitably by the bumper. The bejewelled tail lamps and the impact absorbing side bars add to the contemporary design.

Comfort, luxury and power packed in one, the Scorpio will certainly hot up the competition, not only in the SUV segment, but also in the C segment of cars. Reasons Mr Durante, This vehicle offers the comfort that any luxury car provides, immense power and the price is attractive.

The Scorpio comes in red, blue, silver, black and green. The vehicle, ex-showroom Mumbai Euro I, costs Rs 5.5 lakh and Rs 6.1 lakh for the diesel Turbo 2.6 and Turbo 2.6 DX, respectively. The prices of the Bharat Stage II diesel Turbo 2.6 and Turbo 2.6 DX versions, ex-showroom New Delhi, are Rs 5.82 lakh and Rs 6.35 lakh, respectively. For the petrol version, Rev 116, the price has been kept at Rs 7.19 lakh. Bookings have already started and the waiting period is 3-4 weeks. For those of you who say nothing else will do, the Scorpio should do!