Here is a glimmer of hope everywhere, as we come to terms with the new (ab)normal. But what hasn’t changed really are the roads that take us to the places we want to be. And, more importantly, those glistening toys that take us to these places.
Long drives aren’t an impossibility in every part of India. Even if they are now, they soon shall cease to be and the times will be like they used to be.
So, at the first opportunity, you get to take a spin to your favourite destination, where would you be? The choice is totally yours. On our part, we've prepared a list of some of the coolest cars that you could take this fabled ride in.
Whether you decide to go solo, with friends or family, these incredible machines will make your escapade memorable.
If you haven’t, somehow, travelled more than five kilometres in the Mercedes S-Class till now, then you should take our word for it — it’s the best cruiser. The 2018 variant of the car introduced cruise control that was adaptive to the conditions you are driving in. It could detect speed bumps, stops and speed limit changes. During a long drive, this is the kind of ally you want on your corner of the ring.
Add to this the ability to give you the usual adrenaline rush with a Sport and Sport+ mode. It’s so intelligent and automated that as soon as you flick the turn signal on, the steering assist attempts a lane change if the lane is clear or defer your decision for your safety. The S-Class is powered by a 3-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces an impressive 362hp and this is only the base model.
Engine: 5980 cc
Transmission: 7 Speed automatic RWD
Power: 630bhp@5000rpm / 1000nm@2300-4200rpm
Top speed: 250kmph
0 to 100 km/hr: 4.6 seconds
Price: Rs1.38 crore
BMW Z4 Roadster
A Roadster isn’t something you would have gotten used to in this list. But how could we ignore BMW’s Z4 Roadster that drops its top and lets the wind play in your hair as you turn gingerly around the tricky Konkan Ghats? Available in two options, this feisty car is powered by a 2-litre, 4-cylinder engine in the sDrive20i variant and by a 3-litre, 6-cylinder engine in the sDrive40i one. It comes with a variety of automated and comfort driving features, including a SPORT+ driving mode. The driver and his navigator are blessed with BMW Live Cockpit Professional that features an adaptive touchscreen information display with support for Apple Car Play. The Z4 makes for a great driving companion with features such as ABS with Brake Assist, dynamic stability control, side-impact protection, electronic vehicle immobiliser, and crash sensor in tow.
Transmission: 8 Speed automatic Rear wheels
Power: 335bhp@5000-6500rpm / 500Nm@1600-4500rpm
Top speed: 250kmph
0 to 100 km/hr: 6.6 seconds
Price: Rs65.99 lakh
Also read: Audi Q2 review: More hatchback, less Audi
Porsche Cayenne Coupe
If you’ve ever wanted to ferry your entire family around in a sports car, then the Porsche Cayenne Coupe is what can make it possible. An SUV in body but a sports car in spirit, the Cayenne Coupe doesn’t look far too different from its predecessors. On the inside, it’s high on technology and comfort. It offers support for Google Nest devices so that you know what’s happening back home with the pets, even if you’re miles away from them on this irresistible long drive.
There’s ample space to even accommodate taller members of your clan, even on the rear seats. Driving the all-new Cayenne Coupe can take some getting used to. But as soon as you become one with the machine, you begin to feel the weighted steering help you in tricky situations. The suspension and braking ensure that you and your co-passengers hardly feel the jitters and vibrations that our resilient Indian spines have gotten used to.
Transmission: 8 speed Tiptronic S AWD
Power: 542.4bhp@5750-6000rpm / 770nm@2000-4500rpm
Top speed: 286kmph
0-100kmph: 6.0 seconds
Price: Rs1.32 crore
What you can take for granted from a Lexus is that you will be treated well on the inside of the car, while you enjoy the appreciative nods of those on the outside. The Lexus NX300H looks quite large but it would be best suited for a family that doesn’t pack in their entire wardrobe for every journey: read small boot space. The front looks a tad bit too different and conventional design lovers may be unsettled by the deliberate sharpness it poses. The 2.5-litre Hybrid Drive petrol engine produces a 195bhp and 210Nm torque, thanks to two magnet synchronous electric motors at the front and the back. The drive is quiet, which makes it more delightful to enjoy the 14-speaker audio experience in the cabin. The NX300H comes with a 5-Star NCAP safety rating, which is always a good assurance to have.
Transmission: 6 speed Automatic AWD
Power: 153bhp @5700rpm
Top speed: 180kmph
0-100kmph: 9.2 seconds
Price: Rs64 lakh
BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine
A 3 Series would not have made it to our list of luxury cars for long drives. But this is the Gran Limousine, a long wheelbase that offers a better backseat, more leg space, and being a BMW, more driving pleasure. Clad in leather, the cabin is airy and brightly lit by the panoramic sunroof. Aiding to the comfort of the passengers is a three-zone air conditioning system and a 16 speaker Harmon Kardon speaker system. All the tech, right from the ambient lighting to the navigation can be controlled by the highly intuitive iDrive system. Our vote goes for the petrol engine that churns out 255 horses, and it’s poised yet agile. Paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission it delivers a smooth and quiet ride which is made exciting with the various driving modes.
Transmission: 8 Speed automatic RWD
Power: 255BHP@ 5,000rpm/400Nm @ 1,550-4,400rpm
Top speed: 235kmph
0 to 100 km/hr: 6.2 seconds
Price: Rs54 lakh
Range Rover Evoque
Surely one of the best-looking SUVs out there, the Range Rover Evoque could tease a peacock on your monsoon trails. It is rather distinct to look at and more importantly, to experience. For those who want to switch to a more eco-conscious driving, the Evoque could be a stepping stone as it accommodates hybridisation. The 2020 variant does better off-road than its predecessor, which is a welcome sign for the extremely adventurous kind. Creature comforts include 16-way adjustable seats, Cabin Air Ionisation technology for cleaner cabin air, Touch Pro Duo touchscreens to pamper your every whim, and the InControl Remote app that does the usual but also tracks your journey and relays it to your smartphone. It is powered by a 48-volt mild hybrid system and a 4-cylinder Ingenium engine. This good-looker keeps its insides cozy but doesn’t miss a chance to flex it out during an off-roading expedition. Does it have our long drive approval? Of course!
Transmission: 9 Speed automatic AWD
Power: 177bhp@4000rpm / 430Nm@1750-2500rpm
Top speed: 205kmph
0 to 100 km/hr: 9.3 seconds
Price: Rs58 lakh
Also read: Audi A8L review: A luxury yacht on wheels
Yes, we have a Bentley in our long-drive SUV list. Of course, it’s oozing with luxury and comfort. What would you expect? But isn’t that an essential when you’re going to be on the road for hours as the family bickers about which flavour of chips they’d like to dig into first? The Bentayga is made with love since it’s made by human hands. Each Bentayga takes 130 hours to handcraft. As a result, you can have your very own, bespoke model ready. The car even comes with a Linley Hamper edition in which you get a compartment for crockery and cutlery. You also get a chiller that can accommodate two bottles of champagne at a time.
The artisans surely got our preferences right. It is powered by a W12 engine and can brave a rainy day with its All-Wheel Drive merits.
Transmission: 8 Speed automatic AWD
Power: 600bhp@5250rpm / 900Nm@1250-4500rpm
Top speed: 301kmph
0 to 100 km/hr: 4.0 seconds
Price: Rs3.78 crore
Most Indian families have a weakness for big cars. Long drives beg comfort, space, and easy manoeuvrability. The Mercedes GLS-Class fits the bill perfectly. It can seat seven, including the driver, and offer the best of German engineering on Indian roads. Take in the panoramic beauty of lush monsoon greens with the glass roof as you enjoy your favourite rhythms on the 13-speaker Burmester sound system. Mercedes have included the MBUX infotainment system in the GLS-Class, which makes full use of the Internet-connected car. Occupants on the third row can also pamper themselves by yelling out voice commands to the AI-powered system that happily obliges. Powered by a 3-litre petrol engine, it’s a great car to drive. Even with all its comfort inside, it can take a punch from the terrain on the outside and live to tell the tale. As they’d admit locally, it’s pothole-ready for the monsoons.
Transmission: 9G-TRONIC Speed automatic AWD
Power: 325bhp3600-4200rpm / 700Nm@1200-3200
Top speed: 238kmph
0-100kmph: 6.3 seconds
Price: Rs99.9 lakh