Saturday, 5th April 2012, has truly been a wonderful, fun and frolic day. To start thing off, the day began as early as 0530 am for me. Here’s how it unfurled.
Mahindra & Mahindra wished to celebrate a “Torque day,” for which they decided to invite 14 journalists all across India, to the now famous Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida. Though I saw the Formula One race last year in all its glory, it still doesn’t compare to being there in the paddock area.
XUV 500 was the chosen charriot. Prior to the main event, a briefing had been given by Mahindra about the do’s and dont’s on the track. We were also fortunate enough to see the XUVs of Gaurav Gill and Lohith Urs, National rally champions, based on which this particular event was organised.
After the usual Q&A, each person was given a car to drive. It could either be self driven or with a co-driver. Every XUV was to travel 5 laps on the circuit. For a 140 bhp, 2.2 litre engine, the XUV was pretty quick off its feet. Each individual vehicle driven by a journalist was to be slotted between a Safety Car and a Sweep Car (Sweep car being behind the journalist’s car).
The handling of the car was very good. From a speed of 170 kmph, the vehicle could brake upto 80 kmph near the turns. For a 2 ton plus (2450 kg) vehicle, the mHawk engine allowed enough power, with just the right amount of grip for cornering. A substantial body roll was expected from a vehicle of this size.
The only grouse that I can possibly fathom is the location of the handbrake. It is at a 30 degree angle to the location of the gear, and sometimes makes me uncertain whether I have engaged it or not. The gears might have felt a tad notchy on the track, but I am sure it is very well suited to the Indian road conditions.