After 12 long months of work, we wouldn’t have wanted to end 2017 in any other way but in emphatic fashion. As a portal that spreads news and produce video reviews, we wouldn’t have been pleased to just strip the last sheet off the calendar and call it a day. NO.
So in typical Autobuzz.my manner, this is it. This is the gathering of marvels – cars that we’ve scrutinised, enjoyed and most importantly loved, in a tribute video, to highlight and toast yet another great year of even greater cars.
The selection process of these nine cars wasn’t any easier than the production of this video. Upon weeks of deliberation, countless text exchanges, endless disputes, the list was finally drawn and those in it, rest assured, are an assembly of spectacular machines we personally deem as the Best Cars of 2017.
We were utterly amazed by the LF-LC (Lexus Future-Luxury Coupe) concept car when it was unveiled by Lexus few years back. It looked out of this world, such a sight to behold. Naturally, it was safe to assume the production car will look far from it due to the usual lost in translations going into production.
We were wrong. The end product looked almost identical as the concept car was. The LC 500 is one gorgeous machine. It looks amazing from every angle. Hats off to the engineers working around such a design without diluting the earlier concept.
Not only is it seductive, it oozes luxury from the inside out. The generous use of premium materials all around with uber comfortable Alcantara seats and spot on sitting position makes it a lovely place to be in.
Together with the responsive naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre engine that generates impressive power outputs and throaty V8 growls, it just makes for the perfect mile-munching Grand Tourer.
Porsche Boxster S by Dominic Yee
Just like my pick last year, I have to admit, I am a sucker for roadsters but the Porsche Boxster S is different. It’s like a roadster nicely suited up in an evening tux, all suave and ready to take on the night with much charm and charisma.
The latest Porsche Boxster S has adopted a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine instead of the previous naturally-aspirated 6-cylinder engine unit. But do not be fooled thinking that it has lesser power. It packs a punch with an increase in torque and horsepower despite the supposedly smaller engine.
They say the difference between mediocrity and excellence is really the attention to detail. As we all know, Porsche excels at this when it comes to sheer precision handling.
The Boxster S is like a precision tool that reacts to every movement of the steering and throttle, giving you pin-point accuracy in every bend and corner of the road.
The Boxster S is just pure joy to drive. It gives you the confidence to throttle on with ease and eat corners until you run out of tarmac to drive on. More power and precision behind the wheel means more fun and pleasure to drive. That is exactly what the Porsche Boxster S is all about.
To many driving enthusiasts, PHEV is a dirty four letter acronym. That is because most of the plug-in hybrid vehicles appear to be an afterthought, where a battery pack adds to an internal combustion engine model, to produce a vehicle with a claimed fuel consumption that is only achievable at sleep-inducing speeds.
In order to accommodate the batteries, sacrifices were made. Hundreds of kilograms of weight were added, taking up boot space and perhaps upsetting its balance and drivability. They claim to reduce pollution by lowering emissions but the only pollution they manage to reduce is noise.
If you really have to buy a plug-in hybrid, the BMW 330e M Sport is the one to have. Its power figures easily surpasses those found on the 330i and 320d, with a much lower price tag thanks to EEV incentives.
Throwing the car into a corner, it has lost none of its nimbleness and superior handling compared to its petrol and diesel siblings and powering out of the corner will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
This car makes you want to drive it day and night – it engages your senses while you trigger its pulses. BMWs have always been the Ultimate Driving Machines and the 330e is every bit the embodiment of that, just more electrifying.
Over the years, we’ve come to know AMGs to be raw, brutal and very expensive. With the 43 series though, membership to the exclusive AMG club is now more accessible. It may not follow the one man one engine philosophy, nor is it as brash, or as loud.
With a century sprint taking less than five seconds, the car is hardly a slouch. The 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine churns out 367 horses, sent to all four wheels (instead of just the rear like most full-fledged AMGs), making the car simply more livable and lovable on a daily basis. And with an all-wheel drive system that’s rear-wheel biased, you can still have a little bit of fun without running into trouble.
All that performance is housed under a sleek, svelte roofline and a body that curves in all the right places – it’s a car with beauty and brawn at the same time.
Not only would it fit five in comfort along with substantial cargo, it’s got the drivability not comparable by many in its segment. Not only does it have style and substance, it also rides like a SUV but drives like a sedan. Its agility and instantaneous performance is a testament to Mazda’s Jinba Ittai – the horse and rider as one philosophy. With Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control, it’s now more like the horse and carriage as one. Wonder what’s that called in Japanese.
No matter how you look at it, the new B8 Passat is a real looker from its more executive-oriented predecessor. It still exudes all the elements of an executive sedan but with a touch of sportiness, especially with the Highline.
With a powertrain taken right out of a Golf GTi, it produces 217 hp and 350 Nm of torque, with power delivered through a 6-speed dual clutch transmission. It also inherits the XDS electronic locking differential that applies individual brakes on the inner wheel to reduce understeer around bends.
As such, it can be aggressive and agile, yet docile and comfortable when you feel less enthusiastic behind the wheel. It’s spacious and comfortable, it’s got presence and performance. All these factors come together in making the Passat the jack of all trades and master of everything – a true all rounder.
I’ve had the privilege to pilot a diverse range of vehicles this year – from heart-throbbing bi-turbo V8s to efficient three-potters in a plethora of body styles from full-sized SUVs to compact hatchbacks. Every car was great in their own unique way but nothing stands out more than this quirky little Brit.
Retailing at RM289k, many won’t be able to justify its price per horsepower (2.0-litre turbo, 231 hp/320 Nm) especially when you can get the mighty Volkswagen Golf R for the same money. But the experience behind the wheel of the MINI JCW simply can’t be measured by dollars and cents.
The legendary racing heritage of John Cooper Works is pounded unforgivingly into your body, reminding you that you’re in a very special car. At every turn of the wheel, downshift, pops and crackles, the MINI JCW lights up all my bodily senses like nothing else I’ve ever driven. And have you seen how pretty this thing is?
Ever since they invented the seat belt in 1959, Volvo has been at the forefront of vehicle safety and as time progressed, so has its innovations. Today, Volvo’s vast offering of driving aids and safety systems put it in the driving seat of passenger protection and the S90 T8 is every bit the culmination of the Swede’s inventiveness.
A car’s maneuverability has always been more important than anything else to me, outweighing even horsepower. And on that note, I’ve always admired Lotus’ for how they drive, especially the Elise. To me, it delivers the ultimate sensations behind the wheel through pure driving.
In the Evora 410, things are just a tad different. While it may not possess the featherweight lightness of the Elise, it still retains the nimbleness so synonymous of a Lotus but with added power, presence and arguable levels of comfort.
Everything from its short-throw gear lever, almost instinctive steering and perfectly-placed pedals make me want to drive it, and hard, at every waking moment. The intoxicating bellow of that rev-happy V6, as much as it was a sensory overload for me, is also a real treat for the on-lookers and trust me, heads do turn.
It’s fast, vulgar and unapologetically loud – it’s almost the perfect middleground between simplicity and functionality. The Lotus Evora 410 is undoubtedly one of the most exciting set of wheels I’ve driven this year.