My first opinion piece for ATR, and I can barely make up my mind about what to write. The mind says talk about upcoming BS VI emissions norms, the heart says write about AWD/4WD. So the latter it is, of course. We recently had the opportunity to drive the new Maruti Ignis in Chennai, which happened to get stuck in a bit of deep sand on a Chennai beach during our photoshoot. Spinning its front wheels helplessly, the car simply continued to sink in the sand until a bunch of local boys turned up and cheerfully pushed the car out. I remember thinking at that point, how useful 4WD would have been, and how a 4WD Gypsy would have simply romped out of the situation without a care in the world.
Later in the month, we also got to drive the mighty Nissan GT-R supercar, which features AWD. Even in the rather limited amount of time that we had the car, the AWD system impressed with its performance, the car cornering like it was on the proverbial rails and staying planted like a rock in sweeping high-speed bends. A few days earlier, ATR had spoken to the GT-R's chief product specialist, Hiroshi Tamura, and we'd asked him why the GT-R features all-wheel-drive instead of the rear-wheel-drive set-up that most European cars have. At that time, Tamura had smiled and explained that with 4WD/AWD, Nissan is able to exploit much more of the GT-R's performance potential, given the high power output from its twin-turbo V6. 'Power going to all four wheels is better than power going to just two wheels,' said Mr GT-R. And he was probably right, of course.
While 4WD SUVs aren't particularly interesting for me, I quite like Audi's range of Quattro AWD cars, especially the beastly RS5 and the absolutely wild RS7. Maybe it's just that I never got rid of my teenage fixation with the 4WD Maruti Gypsy and the short-wheelbase 4WD Mahindra CJ340. Or maybe I watched too many videos of the fearsome Group B Audi Sport Quattro S1 decimating its very capable competition. Or maybe it's all those AWD Mitsubishi Evos and Subaru Imprezas that impressed in WRC. Whatever it is, to me, 4WD/AWD cars just seem that little bit cooler, a bit more exotic, more purposeful. So, a 4WD Ignis, anyone...?