SINGAPORE (Dec 27): We had the privilege of taking many new cars for a spin this year. These are our favourites.
We were one of the first to test the largest luxury sport-utility vehicle — in South Carolina — before it hit the market in Singapore. The chunky 20in tyres (which can be upsized to 22in ones) and air suspension effectively cushion you from harsh road conditions. The body’s ground clearance can be adjusted by pushing a button to raise it to a maximum 40mm above the standard setting — very handy when going off-road. Another button in the boot activates a loading mode that lowers the car by 40mm.
The Hyundai Avante is a reworked version of an older model. It sports a much sharper and more modern front section, plus a more prominent grille that is set in a folded bumper assembly. There are also unusual triangle-shaped turning lamps where foglamps are normally situated. It makes for a sleek-looking front end that belies its budget-car status.
BMW 330i M Sport
The 330i — especially the M Sport package — will keep BMW 3 Series fans more than happy. It is powered by a two-litre, fourcylinder turbocharged engine. This produces 258bhp of raw power and 400Nm of torque, which helps get the car from a standing start to 100kph in less than six seconds. We test-drove the car in Australia. The 330i is driven by its rear wheels and power is efficiently channelled to the tarmac via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance-wise, the car packed plenty of punch but a large part of that pleasure also came from the revamped cabin.
Porsche Macan S
The latest edition in the Porsche SUV line-up is the new-and-improved Macan, the smaller sibling of the Cayenne. The most obvious change is a slightly restyled front fascia with new LED headlights and intake apertures. At the back, new full-width tail lamps bring the Macan closer to the rest of the current Porsche design architecture. More noticeable is the range of striking new colours including Miami Blue, Mamba Green Metallic, Dolomite Silver Metallic and Crayon.
The Lamborghini Urus has all of the speed and sporty performance you would associate with a Lamborghini expanded into a much bigger frame. Given its size, you would wonder at first if it would handle like a supercar. It does. Under the bonnet is Lamborghini’s first turbocharged engine, a four-litre V8 with twin turbochargers. This will get you a whopping 650bhp of power and 850Nm of torque. Having experienced it first hand, we can vouch that the car really is an engineering marvel.
The 21⁄2-tonne Rolls-Royce Cullinan has a beastly 6.75-litre V12, twin-turbo engine. It has a top speed of 250kph and can get you from 0 to 100kph in just 5.2 seconds. There are so many beautiful touches to this car that make it truly unique; we love the rearhinged doors of a Rolls-Royce but even more so as they are now power-assisted. While the shape may not please everyone, you will not find a more luxurious, comfortable and smooth-driving SUV as this for a while.
The flagship Mazda 6 has undergone a major facelift. The front of the car is radically different from its predecessor, with an abundance of chrome and an impressivelooking new grille. It has a more sculpted boot, giving it a lean and athletic body shape. Overall, you are looking at a very stylish and goodlooking car that belies its value-for-money price tag. The engine is a decent 2.5-litre, 16-valve, which helps the car glide along the tarmac. The power plant may not sound remarkable but it has a very cool function — it can deactivate two of its four cylinders when not needed to save fuel.