When it comes to city cars, few would argue against the fact that driving a Smart is, indeed, a smart choice.
Thanks to their compact dimensions, a pair of Smart Fortwos can fit perpendicularly into a parallel parking space.
But a Smart car can be a sporty choice, too, thanks to the all-new and hotter Brabus variants of the Fortwo, Fortwo Cabrio and Fourfour models.
Each of these cars is equipped with a turbocharged 900cc 3-cylinder engine that delivers 109bhp and 170Nm, or 7bhp and 23Nm more than the older model.
To further improve driveability, the 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox now has shorter ratios and is 40 percent more responsive than before.
Handling-wise, these models are fitted with Brabus Performance sports suspension, which is 20 percent firmer than the previous setup. There’s also a new front anti-roll bar that reduces roll tendency by 9 percent.
i3 GOES FURTHER.
Range anxiety has always been an issue with electric cars, and BMW is addressing this by updating the i3, which is now available with a 94Ah (ampere-hour) lithium-ion battery.
The i3 94Ah supposedly has a maximum range of 312km, or 122km further than the original i3 equipped with a 60Ah lithium-ion battery.
To ensure that charging times remain reasonable, BMW developed a new fast-charging system that can recharge an i3 94Ah in less than three hours. This the same time it takes the i3 60Ah to be recharged using the current system.
The i3 60Ah can be upgraded by swapping out its battery for the 94Ah version. However, at press time, official agent Performance Motors cannot confirm whether it will offer this service.
Setting the i3 94Ah apart from the i3 60Ah are new paintwork options that include Platin Silver, Ionic Silver and Protonic Blue Metallic, which was initially only available for the i8 hybrid sports car.
The i3 94Ah will come to Singapore in the fourth quarter.
The Ford Mustang is one of the world’s most iconic cars, but it was only last year – 50 years since the first model was introduced – that the car was exported globally.
The current-generation Mustang is also the first one available as a righthand- drive model.
Ford’s moves have paid dividends. According to IHS Automotive, the Mustang was the bestselling sports coupe globally in 2015, with 110,000 coupes and 30,000 convertibles sold.
It was also the only sports coupe that racked up more than 100,000 registrations last year.
The Mustang that will be sold here is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-litre 4-cylinder. The car is currently being homologated and should be available soon.
Most carmakers have been downsizing their engines, even for their high-performance models. The current Ford Focus ST, for instance, uses a 2-litre inline-4, whereas its predecessor packs a 2.5-litre 5-pot.
Audi, however, has bucked this trend with its new TT RS Coupe and Roadster models, which are powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre inline-5 powerplant.
The new 5-cylinder is Audi’s most powerful yet, delivering 400bhp and 480Nm, or 60bhp and 30Nm more than the older motor.
This enables both models to demolish the century sprint in 3.7 seconds and 3.9 seconds respectively.
Both times are a massive 0.6 of a second quicker than their predecessors.
Renault is capitalising on the continued popularity of crossovers and SUVs (sports utility vehicles) with the launch of the secondgeneration Koleos.
The Koleos is the largest SUV in the carmaker’s lineup, joining the compact Captur and mid-size Kadjar (which we pit against the Nissan Qashqai on page 38).
Like the first-gen model, the new Koleos shares the same platform and utilises the same all-wheel-drive system as its cousin, the Nissan X-Trail.
Renault says the Koleos offers more room thanks to its larger dimensions and a longer wheelbase of 2710mm, an increase of 20mm.
Official dealer Wearnes Automotive is currently working to bring this SUV to Singapore.
MILLION MIATAS (AND COUNTING).
Production of the Mazda MX-5 has exceeded one million cars, further cementing the model’s position as the world’s best-selling and most successful roadster to date.
As Mazda’s halo model, the MX-5’s history spans 27 years and four model generations.
However, this roadster is unlike archetypal halo models, which are ridiculously powerful and unattainable.
Instead of raw power, the MX-5 is known for being fun to drive because of its light weight and delightful handling.
Add affordability and bulletproof reliability to the mix, and it’s easy to see why this car continues to endear itself to enthusiasts.
Petrolheads may not like them, but the success of petrol-electric hybrids means they’ll continue to be around for a long time.
Lexus, for instance, has sold more than a million hybrid vehicles since its first model, the RX400h, debuted in 2005.
Lexus hybrids, however, only make up about 12 percent of parent company Toyota’s total hybrid sales to date, which number more than eight million vehicles.
Lexus currently offers 10 hybrid models, five of which are available in Singapore. In 2015, the brand’s hybrids comprised 33 percent of its total sales here.
Rolls-Royce owners prefer bespoke automobiles to “off-the-rack” cars, so these well-heeled individuals probably feel the same about their luggage.
The carmaker is catering to these individuals with its six-piece Wraith luggage collection, which is comprised of two Grand Tourer valises, three Long Weekender bags and a Garment Carrier.
Unique details include an embossed Spirit of Ecstasy on each bag and self-righting wheel centres with the “RR” logo for the Grand Tourer.
The bags come in either monotone or two-twotone leather as standard. However, they can be further personalised to a buyer’s specifications. Prices for the Wraith luggage collection start at $68,000.