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Old 8th February 2012, 12:19   #1
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Default Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Drive. Enough Said.


Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-47.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-1.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-2.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-3.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-4.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-5.jpg

Thanks to Rehaan, Parrys & Jalsa777 for shooting & processing the pictures, as well as their valuable comments.

Last edited by GTO : 8th February 2012 at 20:22.
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:19   #2
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

What does it take to own a Super Car in India?

• Rupees 1.5 - 3.0 crore (and over) in capital, whether upfront or financed

• Depreciation of Rs. 20 - 40 lakh p.a. (per annum)

• Insurance of Rs. 3 - 5 lakh p.a.

• Maintenance costs of Rs. 1 - 3 lakh p.a. As the car ages, this can & does go higher

• An additional parking spot

• Personal time spent in finding the right service station, procuring parts etc.

It's no wonder then, the Super Car experience remains a distant dream for 99.99% of Indian car enthusiasts. Of course, a certain number have the money and still don't buy Super Cars. Thing is, the opportunity cost of 2 crores is way too high to ignore. A car is a depreciating cost center...the general line of thought is "How many days am I actually going to use that Super Car in a year? Why should I lock 2 crore of capital into a car?!"

Last edited by GTO : 8th February 2012 at 18:40.
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:19   #3
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Enter Club Torque, India's first Super Car Club whose membership gets you behind the wheel of an exotic, several times a year. This concept may be new to India, but it's well established abroad. Ιcurie25 & P1 International (founded by Damon Hill BTW) are amongst the better known. It's somewhat similar to Time Share Holiday Home Packages (Club Mahindra is the largest player in that segment).

How does it work then? Simply put, you pay an annual membership fee and have access to the Super Cars for a certain number of days a year. You needn't bother about ownership, repair or maintenance. Personally, I'm sold on the concept. The 10 - 15 lakh rupees per year is way cheaper than the cost of Super Car ownership. Plus, the Ferrari & Porsche experience just got more accessible. I expect a good number of 3 series & E Class owners in their member base, and was told that there is even some interest from Civic & Accord owners. Is there a downside? Of course : That pride of Supercar ownership and the relevant bragging rights obviously aren't an option; either of these usually form the biggest motivation behind a Supercar purchase. Also, remember that 3 years of membership fees could easily get you a used Porsche in India.

Club Torque offers 3 levels of membership:

Elite - Rs. 15 lakh annually


• 10,000 membership points
• Upto 80 days of driving per year
• Access to the entire fleet of cars
• One month booking window (you can book cars a maximum of 30 days in advance)
• Two Wild Cards (which allow you to book a car with unlimited advance notification. E.g. Book the Ferrari F430 for your November wedding anniversary as early as January!)
• Track Days in India and abroad
• Factory visits to Mercedes, BMW etc.

Sports - Rs. 8 lakh annually


• 5,000 membership points
• Upto 40 days of driving per year
• Access to the entire fleet of cars, except Potenza level (which currently includes the Ferrari F430). Sports members can use their single wild card only (once) for the Potenza level
• 20 day booking window (you can book cars a maximum of 20 days in advance)
• One Wild Card
• Track Days in India and abroad

Enthusiast - Rs. 5 lakh annually


• 3,000 membership points
• Upto 20 days of driving per year
• Access to all cars except the Potenza level (that currently includes the Ferrari F430)
• 10 day booking window (you can book cars a maximum of 10 days in advance)

NOTE : At the time of registration, you will have to pay a Rs. 150,000 initiation fee. This has a 10 year validity.


Table showing how your Membership points can be used, based on the car and whether it's a week day / weekend

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-points.png

EDIT : On 2nd October 2012, Club Torque announced it's flexi-membership program.

Pay Rs. 1.5 lakh annually, and then as you rent:
Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-charges.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 3rd October 2012 at 09:58. Reason: Adding the latest flexi-membership program
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Old 8th February 2012, 12:47   #4
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

About Club Torque


Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-41.jpg

Link to Official Website

• Club Torque is headed by Amit Jain & the Shaman Auto Group (who own a large network of car dealerships in Mumbai). Amit's professional experience includes roles with Mercedes & Ford India.

• The Club will maintain a member to car ratio of 6 : 1. Another 6 cars are going to be added to the fleet in the near future, including a Lamborghini. A Nissan GT-R is on the consideration list. Club Torque members will decide on new additions to the fleet. We suggest that the Maybach or a Rolls Royce Phantom be added; after all, some members might want to use their points toward an uber-luxury sedan for that wedding in the family. Additionally, we spoke about adding Superbikes & Harley-Davidsons to the fleet!

• The cars appear to be in excellent shape. For instance, the Ferrari we drove had a mere 800 kms on the odometer. However, the cars had the TPMS warning lights on and the Ferrari's traction control needed to be fixed (technician has been called from Singapore for the same).

• Interestingly, the Mercedes E-Cabriolet is currently the most popular from the fleet. It's out like every weekend! 4 seater appeal? Easy to drive? Convertible? Whichever. There is also a BMW Z4 in their garage, but we couldn't shoot it as the car was out with a club member.

• Club Torque already has 11 members. All 11 have opted for the Elite level of membership.

• Cars can be booked for a minimum of 3 days, and a maximum of 10 days at a time.

• You can upgrade your membership level, if you use up your points earlier than anticipated.

• Currently located in Mumbai only. Plans for other cities (including Surat, Gujarat) are in the pipeline.

• The minimum age limit for membership is 25 years.

• Some entrepreneurs might be able to write off the annual membership fee as an expense (for tax benefits).

• All cars are registered in the name of "Torque Lifestyle LLP". They have a master right-to-lease agreement, which allows members to lease the car for a short-term duration. Thus, each time that a car is taken out, a short-term lease is drawn. This ensures that the procedures are in compliance with all legal, RTO & insurance requirements.

Things to keep in mind when driving a Club Torque car


• Club Torque offers a free pickup / drop-off facility on an enclosed flat-bed truck. In addition, they can arrange a driver for the time that you visit a nightclub and don't want to drive back later at night.

• A compulsory 30 minute tutorial will be given at the time of picking up any car. This is critical to understanding the car's controls & functions. After all, these are very complex automobiles. Also, at the time of membership, there is a compulsory 1/2 day training session.

• There is absolutely no limit on the number of kms you can drive on your allocated days. As an example, I can drive the Audi R8 from Mumbai to Pune if I want.

• You are provided the car with a full tank of fuel, and are expected to return the car with a full tank of fuel.

• Only Members are permitted to drive cars. Read = No handing out keys to friends & relatives. If a member violates this condition, his membership will be terminated. Atleast that's what the rules state. It will be difficult for them to find out if say, a member lets his friend drive the Porsche in Lonavla.

• Cars are screened with a fine-toothed comb at the time of each pickup / drop-off. If a Member damages any car, he has to pay the insurance deductible (cost of repair less whatever the insurance company pays). If a member is found to be frequently damaging / abusing cars, his membership can be terminated.

• Each car will be equipped with a GPS system that will keep Club Torque notified of the car's location.

• A list of petrol pumps that serve 97-Octane fuel will soon be provided with each car, along with a list of "suggested drive destinations" (those locations that offer the road for a super driving experience).

• You can book your drives via the online reservation system. Here's a peek at the interface:

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Last edited by GTO : 8th February 2012 at 23:02.
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Old 8th February 2012, 15:08   #5
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one



The Ferrari F430

Driving any Ferrari is a spiritual experience, and the F430 is definitely on top of the all-time-favourites ladder. First of all, you sit low (and by that, I mean really low). The car feels surprisingly light to drive and immensely chuckable...it's really easy to hustle around. Of course, you always have to be mindful of the 483 horses in the city, and the manic way in which they are unleashed. Post 4,000 rpm, all hell breaks lose. You are pinned to your seat and well, stay pinned there . When it comes to a combination of speed, feel & adrenalin, it simply doesn't get better than this. The steering is a lesson in feel & directness, it's as if the car already knows where you want to go beforehand. On the flip side, the F430 can feel twitchy & is never relaxed on uneven roads (unlike the R8, for instance). It can get quite jerky at <20 kph driving too.

The Ferrari is so, so emotional that you know only the Italians could have built such an evocative car. The engine & exhaust notes are mind-numbingly intoxicating - A stock Ferrari is symphony enough, this car has after-market pipes that are banned in Italy! The blip each time you downshift using the paddle shifters, oh boy, I found myself downshifting at the slightest opportunity.

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Porsche 911 Turbo

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp.jpg

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Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-5.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-46.jpg

Audi R8 (4.2L V8 FSI)

Get into the R8 and you feel right at home. Instantly. All controls have a logical layout and are right where you expect them to be, just like in any other German car. I was going to drive the Porsche, but the Club Torque team insisted that I pick the Audi instead. In their words, "its a whole lot more fun". The R8 is the only 6-speed manual from the group so I didn't need much persuasion. After the Ferrari experience, the Audi is more grounded to reality. Yes, it's scary fast but in a more manageable, user-friendly way than the Ferrari. The torque available at low rpms will blow your mind and the engine is so unbelievable free-revving that you hit the revv-limiter much earlier than expected. The initial lot of gears are too short though. When the pedal is to the metal, the R8 pulls like a scalded cat and there is no letting go throughout the revv range. "Ferocious" is the only word that comes to mind. The short 6-speed gearbox is wonderful to use and the engine + transmission combination is amongst the best there is. The R8 feels like a f-a-s-t German muscle car, rather than an outright supercar (read = F430). It even handled the irregular patches of the Bandra Worli Sea Link better.

The R8 turned out to be a pleasant surprise; it's the favourite with the Club Torque management as well.

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-r8.jpg

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Mercedes E-Cabriolet

The E-Cabriolet is the most used car from Club Torque's garage, it's a hit with the members:
Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-22.jpg

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Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-20.jpg

Back at Shaman Motors, we saw two beautiful W126' for sale. Too bad they were 280s. I told them that if the black one was a 500, he'd have a ready customer!
Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-50.jpg

Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-51.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 9th February 2012 at 15:51. Reason: Adding video
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Old 9th February 2012, 00:22   #6
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

I got a chance to drive all 3 of the cars. Without going into the smaller details, here's the few things that stood out at first glance :


911 Turbo
  • On paper, this car looks just as good a pick as the F430, and its half the points to use it.
  • The interiors seemed a bit dated due to the choice of materials, colours, and the styling. Strange for something as new as a 997 eh?
  • The exhaust is, well, mostly engine noise. You don't get much fun outta just revving her up at a standstill (like you do on the R8 or F430).
  • Given the fairly straight sea-link, it wasn't the ideal place for the Porsche to come into its element, so unfortunately i can't make any comment on this, as much as i'd love to.
  • Being a Turbo, the acceleration was quite brutal, with a definite surge once she gets spoolin'. A silent killer.
  • The gear-shift buttons on either side of the steering wheel let you up or down shift with either hand. They're convenient to use, but the lack of any mechanical feel when shifting is a bit of a bummer (even something like a paddle feels better).
  • The brakes were a bit dull at low speeds, though no complaints once we got moving .
  • Given the good blend of fast, reliable and rear-engined, this would be oh-so-tempting for a twisty ghat run.


Audi R8
  • You feel well cocooned in this cabin, thanks to the plush seats, raised center console and slim slit of a windshield.
  • Revv her up, and the engine has a smooth beastly growl.
  • The engine is super smooth and wants to revv on forever. Hitting the redline is effortless on this 4.2. Combine that with a manual box, and it keeps you well entertained.
  • The manual g'box takes a little getting used to. When making quick diagonal shifts, you tend to hit the metal gates with a loud clank. I never got comfortable enough during my short drive to make super fast shifts.
  • The brakes are SHARP. Maybe even a touch over-servo'd for my tastes
  • Probably the softest ride. The rear squatting during acceleration & the mega sound add to the overall thrill
  • Quattro. Probably a good pick for the rainy months!
  • In terms of "experience" this car really up there with the rest. Initially i had doubts, especially since its the V8, but it was clearly the pick of many of the Club Torque guys too


Ferrari F430
  • Everyone knows Ferraris are exotic and expensive, but the cabin of the F430 is still surprisingly basic. Its almost raw or crude when compared to the others.
  • Its not "luxurious" or "plush" everything you see has purpose. Huge yellow tacho, red digital gear# indicator, basic metal pedals, manettino on the wheel. No nonsense, no luxury; but it sure has flair. I love it.
  • The light coloured interiors and larger glass area make it a lot more airy inside too (especially compared to the R8).
  • Look in the rear view mirror, and you can see the "testarossa" (red head) of the engine, as well as a "Made in Maranello" sticker.
  • The bark of the exhaust is a lot harsher than the R8's synthetic roar. Wavering, moaning, singing and shrieking as you work the throttle through the gears. It has its moods, and it talks back!
  • The F430 feels so much lighter and more nimble when you move the steering, almost like the car weighs half as much as the others.
  • The carbon fiber gearshift paddles are long and convenient to use (especially when down-shifting)! The audible blips when doing so are sublime.
  • The traction control wasn't working, so we did not want to risk it in Sport or Race modes. We had to make do with "Low grip" mode for most of the driving.
  • With the manettino set to the regular "Sport" mode, at <15 km/h speeds the car occasionally grumbles and jerks back and forth when theres little throttle input.
  • The red center line painted onto the carbon fiber top of the steering wheel add to the sporty feel. Its interesting to watch that line move (even on a fairly straight road) to see steering inputs and feedback.
  • There's something so direct and captivating about this car, its hard to put in words!


Will add some more pictures soon.

cya
R

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th February 2012 at 10:15.
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Old 9th February 2012, 00:37   #7
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Wow , what a nice concept . Driving a dream car for less 1/10 of the price of the car for so many days ! .

When did they start this concept ? . Never heard before .

Only if some one comes up some thing similar to superbikes !
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Old 9th February 2012, 01:03   #8
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

That's one more incentive for somebody like me to work harder!

One could even call the basic membership "affordable". Membership packages & their benefits are priced well.

Question is - does one need to pay a refundable deposit before taking the delivery of a car? Because, if I wreck the car, and if the repair bill comes to something like Rs. 20 Lacs (after insurance payout), how are they going to force me to pay?
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Old 9th February 2012, 01:19   #9
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Elite - Rs. 15 lakh annually

• Track Days in India and abroad
I have some questions regarding the track days part
a. Will the club cover all the expenses like travelling , lodging and track fees during track days ?
b. Which foreign circuits will the members be taken to?
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Old 9th February 2012, 09:40   #10
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Quote:
Originally Posted by black12rr View Post
When did they start this concept ? . Never heard before .
The Club officially went live just a couple of days back.

Quote:
Only if some one comes up some thing similar to superbikes !
You can say that again, man!

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Question is - does one need to pay a refundable deposit before taking the delivery of a car?
No deposit.

Quote:
Because, if I wreck the car, and if the repair bill comes to something like Rs. 20 Lacs (after insurance payout), how are they going to force me to pay?
I guess they have already considered the risk & legality into their business plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vagu View Post
a. Will the club cover all the expenses like travelling , lodging and track fees during track days ?
Nope. The annual fee you pay them is only for using the Super Cars. However, considering their background, they would surely be able to cut a better deal with track owners (group buy). The Mercedes AMG Driving Academy (Link to thread (I drove a C63 AMG at Buddh!! Mercedes AMG Driving Academy Launched)) is one of the track day events planned.

Quote:
Which foreign circuits will the members be taken to?
Not clear yet.

Also, they are currently working out reciprocal agreements with int'l Super Car Clubs too. So, if you are going to UK for a holiday with your wife, you could probably use some of your Club Torque points toward a Super Car drive in that country.
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Old 9th February 2012, 09:47   #11
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Here's a few more pics


Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-6.jpg

Wall-paper material! Have included this in high-res. (Credit to jalsa777 for this pic)
Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-dsc_4260.jpg

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Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one-club-torque-drive_teambhp-67.jpg

cya
R

Last edited by Rehaan : 9th February 2012 at 16:03.
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:21   #12
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Thanks for the info GTO.
Is there any speed limit we need to follow.
Eagerly waiting for them to open in Bangalore.

Hope they introduce F1 cars aswell in buddh circuit.

For those who dont want to shell out 8-15lakhs for annual membership goto thailand enjoy any super car/bike, all under 50k.

Last edited by brraj : 9th February 2012 at 10:23.
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:35   #13
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Love this ! There goes my dream of saving up for an Audi sedan, I'd rather save up for this now! :-)

Interestingly, three years back I was talking to an investor on this concept , and I remember how numerous hours of presentations , meetings and brain storming yielded nothing from him. ;-)

I'd for sure become a member of it , soon!
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:43   #14
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I guess they have already considered the risk & legality into their business plan.

.
Their FAQ clearly mentions that membership to the super car club is by invitation or referral only. That's how they manage risk. The real estate goon types we see in Bangalore - top 2 buttons of shirt open, crooked yellow teeth, wearing gold necklace & rings - probably wouldn't make it to the club.
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:50   #15
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Default Re: Club Torque : Drive a Super Car in India *without* owning one

This is a brilliant concept.

It just gets luxury and supercars fairly within reach for someone slightly above the common man; if not ownership, at least getting to drive them.

It is pleasantly amusing to know the kind of things money can get you!

I hope they are able to maintain quality - of their cars and members - the kind of indulgence they offer shouldn't be misused.
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