Best part is, most of these rides will keep the driver as well as the family man in you happy.
There are cars and then, there are cars. As BHPians, we aren’t looking at a mere mode of transportation from point A -> point B. To us, the journey is as important as the destination…be it that simple early morning drive in the city, or the pleasurable 1000 km road trip with our families.
Good thing is, the vibrant Indian market offers petrolheads a wide variety of fun-to-drive cars. Turbo-charged petrols and EVs have spiced up the game too. And if you thought you need to spend big bucks to have fun, think again. Excellent options are available at each & every price point.
Best part is, most of these rides will keep the driver as well as the family man in you happy. After all, the car of a typical Indian household just has to be a multi-tasker (ghat cornering on Sunday, work on Monday, kids to football ground on Wednesday, late-night revving on Friday, visit in-laws on Saturday, breakfast run with BHPians on Sunday morning).
Listed below, in no particular order, are the best enthusiast cars on sale today. Only those with a price tag of ~75 lakhs & under have been included, to keep the line-up relevant to gearheads.
Each of these cars will bring a smile to your face (*guaranteed*) in their own special way, every time you head out for a drive ! What’s more, if you wish to enhance the driving experience, they are modification-friendly too.
BMW M340i xDrive
What’s hot: Ferocious 6-cylinder turbo-petrol motor with 382 BHP on tap! Lives for 7,000 rpm, all-wheel-drive gives the BMW M340i leech-like grip & solid stability levels, sporty and well-tuned exhaust note is addictive at high revs, ZF 8-speed AT is the best gearbox in the segment…fast & smooth, 0 – 100 in 4.4 seconds with 4-door everyday practicality…go touring with the family, lovely cabin, premium build, very supportive seats & a fab driving position, BMW’s strong track record for reliability (among the luxury marques), 5-star NCAP rating, awesome brakes & a laundry list of safety equipment
What’s not: Ride is much firmer than a regular 3-Series…liveable, but you feel everything on the road, sad boot space with a spare wheel, we don’t like the radiator grille, rear floor hump is enormous! The car is better as a 4-seater than 5, your fuel costs will be a lot higher than say, a 530d, runflat tyres come with many compromises…wear out soon & are expensive to replace, we hate the all-digital instrument console…also, the rev counter is weirdly inverted, some irritants such as w-i-d-e 6-meter turning radius & annoying speed warnings
Citroen C3 1.2L Turbo-Petrol (you’ll be surprised!)
What’s hot: Striking design! Very funky, yet likeable at the same time, good-looking cabin that is practical too, fast 1.2L turbo-petrol is genuinely fun-to-drive, 6-speed MT is slick and light to operate…definitely one of the better gearboxes in the segment, sorted suspension offers a very good ride & handling package, compact size and light controls are perfect for the urban environment, 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay is excellent to use, lots of customization options and accessories to make your car truly unique
What’s not: No automatic transmission on offer, quality of cabin materials doesn’t feel great; cost-cutting is pretty evident in certain areas, some ergonomic issues like the placement of rear power window switches, unusable rear headrest, cabin width makes the interiors suitable for 4 adults…not 5, missing features like electric ORVM adjustment, climate control, and tachometer! long-term reliability & after-sales service quality are big unknowns; dealer network is tiny
The Hyundai N lines
i20 N Line
What’s hot: Aggressive styling with distinctive touches that set it apart from the garden-variety i20, punchy 1.0 turbo-petrol motor with 118 BHP on tap, firm yet compliant suspension coupled with a weighted steering + paddle shifters + fruity exhaust note, tasteful N Line-exclusive steering wheel, gear selector, red accents etc. liven up the interior, feature-rich equipment list includes cruise control, LED projectors, voice-activated sunroof, wireless charging & more, spacious cabin with a 311-liter boot makes this a practical yet fun-to-drive car, price premium over the regular i20 is totally justified by the additions & improvements, safety kit = ESP, 6 airbags, rear disc brakes, Blue Link SOS, Hill Assist…
What’s not: Although well-priced in relation to the i20 Asta variant, it is still an expensive hatchback, 1.0L DCT variant shows initial lag…even otherwise, it’s not as explosive as VW’s 1.0 Turbo, some misses such as auto wipers, split folding rear seats, you absolutely need a tyre upgrade…the OEM rubber gives up easily, this 3rd-gen i20’s styling can be polarizing, unlike the more neutral previous generation cars, dual-clutch ATs have had a troubled reliability record in India, more of a warmed-up hatchback in terms of power & handling, rather than a “hot hatch”
Venue N Line
What’s hot: Aggressive styling and distinctive touches set it apart from the regular Venue, punchy 1.0L turbo-petrol motor with 118 BHP mated to a fast shifting dual-clutch AT, firm yet compliant suspension coupled with weighted steering + paddle shifters + fruity exhaust note that make the Venue N Line a fun little package, tasteful N Line-exclusive touches liven up the otherwise drab interior, feature-rich equipment list includes 4-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, auto-dimming IRVM, cabin air purifier, BlueLink telematics, Home to car (H2C) with Alexa / Google Voice assistant, voice-activated sunroof, wireless charging & more, price premium over the regular Venue is totally justified by the additions & improvements, safety kit = ESP, 6 airbags, rear disc brakes, Blue Link SOS, Hill Assist, factory-fitted dual camera dash-cam, Hyundai’s wide & competent after-sales network
What’s not: More of a warmed-up compact crossover than a proper hot crossover, 1.0L DCT variant shows initial lag…even otherwise, it’s not as explosive as VW’s 1.0 TSI, handling is not as confidence-inspiring as one would expect from a “hot” crossover…tyre upgrade is mandatory! The OEM rubber gives up easily, diminutive street presence…looks more hatchback than SUV from some angles, especially the rear, strictly a 4-seater; the rear bench has very awkward seating for the middle occupant, no manual transmission even as an option! Long term reliability of the DCT is a concern, missing kit (auto wipers, steering reach adjustment…)
What’s hot: Just the right size for a luxury sedan in India, punchy rev-happy engine & well-tuned gearbox deliver superb performance, a great combination of ride and handling; just how a 3 Series should be, big step up in interior quality & design (from the F30), loaded with tech, stylish speedometer & more…iDrive 7 is nice to use
What’s not: Sad boot space with the spare wheel underneath, pricing is stiff for some variants, fake engine noise piped in; tad too fake for our tastes
Mercedes C300d AMG Line
What’s hot: Powerful engine with a 0 – 100 time of ~6 seconds, lovely 9-speed gearbox, AMG Line body kit looks hot, suspension offers the perfect ride & handling balance for India
What’s not: Very expensive, spare tyre placed on the boot floor chews into cargo space, some missing features
Continue reading this thread for more insights and information.
Keyword: 2023 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India