Tata Racemo: All you need to know
21st Apr 2017 7:00 am
We take a look at some of the interesting facts about the Tata Racemo sportscar.
At the Geneva motor show 2017, Tata took the wraps off of its first home-grown mid-engined sportscar, the Racemo. Developed under the carmaker’s new Tamo sub-brand, the Racemo is designed by the company’s design studio in Turin, Italy, and features race-car-inspired styling derived from Tata’s new Impact design language.
We take a look at some of the interesting facts about the Racemo.
1. Not Tata’s first sportscar
The Racemo is far from Tata’s first sportscar. The automaker had previously showcased an Aria roadster concept at the Geneva motor show 2000 with a coupe version debuting in the following year. The Racemo, however, unlike the Aria, which later went on sale in India as a premium MPV is expected to make its way to showrooms as early as the end of this financial year.
2. Built on a patented multi-material sandwich structure coined ‘MOFlex’
The Racemo is built on a patented multi-material sandwich structure which Tata has coined as MOFlex. The MOFlex sandwich structure consists of two composite skins with foam filling injected in-between to form an incredibly stiff and light panel. This production method also allows faster readiness for new vehicles. But the big advantage is that it gives great freedom in design and is extremely cost-effective for low volumes. This allows Tata to produce exciting-looking cars at an affordable price. The automaker also claims that it’s the first company to use this technology in the passenger car market.
3. Originally it wasn’t meant for production
An interesting fact about the Racemo is that it was originally never meant to see the light of day as a physical creation. Tata had commissioned its design team in Turin to develop a car for digital racing platforms, though the team went ahead and develop a physical model which was then shown to the company’s top management.
4. Head-turning design
Tata design team has gone to town with the Racemo’s styling. It’s not a clean design like most of Tata’s passenger cars, and instead is a fussy interplay of multiple surfaces and extreme shapes aimed at making heads turn and jaws drop. The wide front grille has a hint of the Tata family look, while the complex-looking rear, with its split and sculpted flying buttresses, seems to have been inspired by the BMW i8. The butterfly doors also add greatly to the wow factor.
5. Cabin straight out of a video game
The Racemo’s cabin, with three high-res screens, looks straight out of a video game. The button-festooned steering wheel has large, bright red paddle shifters behind them and the red accents are carried over to the switchgear, the pull straps for the door and the massive air con vents which look like the exhaust of a fighter jet.
6. Powered by a turbocharged 1.2-litre engine
It’s under the hood that Tata’s really packed a real shocker. While Tata is over the moon with the Racemo’s looks, the automaker has brought the car back down to earth in terms of engines. Whilst it has supercar-like independent double-wishbone suspension all around and a mid-engined layout, the engine compartment only houses a rather diminutive 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol motor. Tata claims that this twin-turbocharged iteration of its Revotron engine is good for 190hp at 6,500rpm; early simulations and tests don’t see it revving beyond 5,500rpm. We are also a touch sceptical about the claimed power output which works out to a potent 159hp/litre. It’s hard to achieve such a high specific output without sophisticated valve timing and direct injection.
7. Uses a six-speed AMT gearbox
If the engine wasn’t enough of a shocker, Tata has opted to use a six-speed AMT gearbox in conjunction with the engine. AMT gearboxes have generally been deemed as slow and clunky with the best use being for budget cars. However, the Lamborghini Aventador also comes with its own derivative of an AMT gearbox, so we’ll have to see how Tata has addressed the limitation of this gearbox technology.
8. Will feature connected car technologies
The Racemo will also feature connected car technologies from Tata’s new partnership with Microsoft. The company hasn’t divulged specific details yet, but says the car will have advanced navigation, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring and over-the-air updates using Microsoft cloud-based technologies. Drivers will be able to interact with these tech bits via three displays mounted ahead of the steering.
9. Will be India’s first kit car
Interestingly, the Racemo is set to become Tata’s first kit car. The car’s MOFlex structure will allow the car to be built from just a handful of larger, basic modules instead of the hundreds of small components that typically make a regular car.
Guenter Butschek, CEO of Tata Motors, told us that the Racemo will indeed be built at workshop setups around the country and not necessarily from a large, central factory; a hint of this being the ‘Made in Mumbai’ decal that the show car sported. Elaborating further, Butschek said that dealers, except those willing to scale up to this operation model, won't be retailing this car.
10. Estimated price of Rs 25 lakh
When the Racemo does go on sale in India, we could expect a sticker price in the region of Rs 25 lakh.
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