Not too long ago, I had a sit-down with a few of my friends at a bar. We spent the evening screaming at each other. The bar was one of those places that ask you what kind of water you want, and when you reply with ‘Regular, please,’ they look at you as though you’ve just asked them to take a picture of their crotch and send it over to their parents immediately.
This is probably what set me off in the first place, but what’s interesting to note is that we weren’t mad at each other while we conversed in blatantly loud voices. We were simply at each other’s necks because the conversation spiralled, somehow, into cars that we can’t have here, for whatever reason.
And when one can’t get across to someone in person, I decided to do what every sane, rational person would do in my position to get my point across to a larger audience: use the always-understanding, utterly-compassionate internet to voice my concerns, and wait for feedback.
So without further delay: here’s five cars that I’d like to see in India, and soon. The reasoning behind each of them may not be what some would call justified, or even logical, but it is a list nonetheless, and I’m sure the internet would like to hear what I have to say. I have my mom’s word it does.
Why someone wouldn’t be able to see the appeal behind this little gem is beyond me. It’s such a simple recipe: big power, tiny body, rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox and a propensity to consume its tyres faster than a hurricane swallowing up a cow.
The BMW M2, I believe, makes for such an endearing package. I love the way it looks. It’s subjective, I know, and I’m admittedly not the best judge of aesthetics. Have one look at my attire on a shoot and you’d know what I mean. Even then, I’d argue left, right and centre for the M2. It’s the cheapest M car, but in many ways it’s the most desirable. A 3.0-litre inline-six gives you the power for those ludicrous slides, and it’s got a twin-scroll turbo in there which, going by practically every review, is something that gives you power at almost every point on the rev range. It’s even got a variable locking differential from the F80 M3, and that’s just stunning to have to keep things in check.
It embodies all the values that M cars hold on to so dearly, and I have a feeling that people will flock to this kind of machine. If we can somehow justify having a Rs 26 lakh Volkswagen Polo on sale, why not an honest-to-goodness compact M car? There’s a reason why this car’s made it to this list: India’s ready for it. BMW?
Ford Focus RS
I have a thing for cars that bring fantastic amounts of power to people of normal means. The Focus RS is just that car.
The thing is just awe-inspring. You get 345 bhp from a 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost turbo engine (rejoice, ye tree huggers!), and staying true to the game of maximum driving fun it gets a slick six-speed manual ‘box and a trick four-wheel drive system that allows the Focus to behave like a rear-wheel drive car. Essentially, that means that you’re going to have to set aside a significant part of your budget for new tyres because you’ll soon be the king of oversteer. And pavement-hitting.
If a ringing endorsement from ruler-of-all-things-sideways Ken Block isn’t enough, you can bank on the fact that the Focus RS promises to be one of the most hilarious drives you’ve ever had. Heck, there’s even a Drift mode so you can take grandma to the shops in style.
Ford has been pretty handy at making hot hatches like the Focus RS, and the latest one needs to be brought down to India. We’re a greedy bunch, aren’t we?
Honda Civic CRX Si
I know, I know. Honda doesn’t make this one anymore. But if it could at one point, and if it was such a good car, then why shouldn’t it once again? Try it out in a bursting economy like India and you might just find a legion waiting for a car like the CRX, Honda.
I should have pointed out somewhere that this list isn’t to be taken all that seriously, but I’ve always liked the Civic CRX for what it was back then. You could look at it in two ways: on the one hand, it was cheap, sat two comfortably and was pretty efficient at that, and on the other it was a car that looked pretty funky for its time, was light and nimble and had brilliant performance. The sports car for the poor. For its time, it came with an all-aluminium 1.5-litre engine and screamed to 5500 rpm where it made all of 91 bhp, It did the 0-100 kph run 9.1 seconds and looked brilliant while at it.
I’m sure Honda has it in it to make a car like the CRX again. A modern interpretation would go down well with most (well, me, at least), and we’d all like to see Honda go back to making sweet-sounding, high-revving petrol engines, wouldn’t we? It’s damn good at it, so why the hell not?
MKIV Toyota Supra
This list just keeps getting more and more absurd, doesn’t it? I think, by now, you probably know why we kept screaming at each other at that bar’s table.
Okay, so there’s reportedly a new Supra on its way and everyone can’t wait for it. Do you want to know how brilliantly popular and wild the Supra is? I dare you to find one completely stock. Heck, we couldn’t even find stock photos online that easily.
Toyota gave the world a full-fledged GT car for the masses in the mid ‘90s with the Supra, and it’s been laughably successful since then. But there’s a reason it clicks. For starters, it’s probably the most reliable sports car ever made, which isn’t a stretch considering Toyota’s behind it all. Have you seen how long some of its Innovas have been run in the country? Ridiculous.
Then, there’s the fact that it’s cheap and pretty close to bullet-proof. Thanks to the twin-turbo powerplant and the 6-speed transmission, you can go bonkers with the modifications and it will still run as reliably as, well, any other Toyota.
Not to go to this topic again but, my goodness. Just look at it. It’s got one of the most iconic designs possible. I’d make babies in that if I could and if there was a chance that my progeny would come out half as memorable.
So, yep. A Supra. Bring down the latest one, if nothing else, Toyota. That name itself will get you immense love and respect.
Because, well, life’s just that bit more exciting when there’s a high chance that you’ll tip over on your way to anywhere, really.
(Although, it must be noted that the Robins rolled over in a very popular show on the telly — not Mr Bean — were modified to do so!)
PS: This list is but a subset of the cars that I’d like to see in India. It’s currently around about 3082 pages long, but I figured that would be too long to post online, so I picked five at RANDOM and in NO PARTICULAR ORDER before any of you erupts in anger at my uninformed self. Cheers.