Mahindra XUV at a car rally organised among ASEAN countries in India. (Representational Picture)CreativeCommons/PriyankuPhukan

 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) has introduced a new model of its flagship SUV – XUV500 in India with a price tag of ₹13.68 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

The new avatar of XUV 500 dubbed 'XUV500 Sportz' is built on the company's W8 model and packs mainly cosmetic upgrades. Mahindra will be manufacturing only a limited number of the new edition and the new XUV500 Sportz will continue to draw its power from the same 2.2litre mHawk diesel engine coupled to 6-speed manual transmission, which can churn out 140 bhp of power and 330 Nm torque.

Coming to the special features of the XUV 500 limited edition, it houses Stylish Sportz body decals, Fog lamps & door handles with red accents, Rear-view camera, Alloy Wheels with red inserts, roof-rails in red, Sportz badging and Leather upholstery.

"We are pleased to introduce the limited edition 'XUV500 Sportz' for discerning customers. The Mahindra XUV500, with its winning combination of aspirational styling, advanced technology & safety features, comfort & convenience has already created an impact in the hearts & minds of consumers," Rushlane quoted Vivek Nayer, Chief Marketing Officer, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

"This new offering of 'XUV500 Sportz' aligns with our leadership position in Indian motor sports & rallying and reflects our 'Sporty' DNA very well. We believe that it will create a new benchmark in exclusivity to further enhance the XUV500′s appeal amongst customers."

On the safety front, the new SUV features, Dual air bags, ABS with EBD, Side impact beams, Hill Hold Control & Hill Descent Control and Side and Curtain airbags. Other features include 6 inch infotainment display, Micro Hybrid technology, power adjustable OVRMs and tilt and telescopic power steering.

Unveiled in September 2011 across five Indian cities, the cheetah-inspired XUV500 drew massive attention due to its stylish frame and state-of-the-art technologies, which include GPS navigation system, automatic climate controls, voice commands and a sophisticated infotainment system, complete with 6-inch LCD touchscreen, DVD player, Bluesense technology, iPod connectivity, along with six speakers. It is available in W6, W8, W4 and the lately launched Sportz variants.

With the launch of new variant, the county's largest SUV manufacturer, Mahindra hopes to tap new sales volumes in the domestic market.

Mahindra is also rumoured to launch the automatic gearbox variant of XUV500 by mid-2015.

In May, the automaker posted a decline of 12.86 per cent in its total sales in the country. The company sold 37,869 vehicles in May 2014 as against the 43,460 units in the same month last year. Sales of passenger vehicles, including Scorpio, XUV 5OO, Xylo, Bolero and Verito, stood at 18,085 units against the 22,244 units in May 2013, registering a plunge of 18.69 per cent.