We are back with everyone’s favourite end-of-the-year segment- the AutoBuzz.my Best Cars! It has been two years since the team gathered to enjoy the final weeks of the year with their favourite car that delivers performance and driving sensation.
Brought to you in collaboration with Bridgestone, this year’s #ABC2021 line up as well as Sepang International Circuit (SIC) as the venue is unlike any other; with the Ferrari SF90 Spider, Porsche Taycan Turbo S, Aston Martin DBX, BMW M3 Competition, Toyota GR Yaris and the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4Motion making up the ranks.
The Ferrari SF90 is the brand’s first series-production (meaning not limited quantities) hybrid sports car and the now with the convertible retractable hardtop brings the roar of the V8 even closer to the ears.
It was indeed strange, coasting up and down the pit lane without any loud noise (but an accompanying acoustic for pedestrian warning), or even just powering up the Ferrari via a touch panel switch. Once in Qualifying mode, all hell breaks loose and it’s back to regular Ferrari aural masterpiece.
- Engine: 4.0-litre V8, twin-turbocharged – 780 hp, 800 Nm
- Electric motors: 220 hp
- Transmission: F1 Eight-speed dual-clutch
- Drivetrain: Electric front axle, mid-engine ICE rear axle, electric all-wheel drive
- Max Horsepower: 1,000 hp
- 0-100 km/h: 2.5 seconds
- Top speed: 340 km/h
The Porsche Taycan is the poster child of high-performance EVs here in ASEAN, as that certain brand from California has not set up shop yet. Being the Turbo S variant, Dominic has access to the full 1,050 Nm and over 760 hp of total output.
Weighing over 2.3 tonnes, the Taycan still managed to accelerate, corner and brake like the red Ferrari but all in near silence.
- Layout: Dual-motor layout, 93.4 kWh battery
- Drivetrain: Electric all-wheel drive
- Max Horsepower: 761 hp
- Max Torque: 1,050 Nm
- 0-100 km/h: 2.8 seconds
- Top speed: 260 km/h
High-riding performance SUVs are now the norm, with many luxury automakers reporting brisk sales and growth thanks to these spacious models that offer the same level of performance as the coupes.
The Aston Martin DBX is certainly not shy about its looks and is also incredibly proud to announce its arrival with its sports exhaust. The drive to-and-fro to Sepang was perhaps the most pleasing thanks to the space and luxurious upholstery and fittings.
- Engine: 4.0-litre V8, twin-turbocharged
- Transmission: Nine-speed automatic transmission
- Drivetrain: Front engine, all-wheel drive, active limited-slip diff
- Max Horsepower: 550 hp
- Max Torque: 700 Nm
- 0-100 km/h: 4.5 seconds
- Top speed: 291 km/h
The G80 BMW M3 received the most divided opinions from everyone, everywhere, due to its styling that centres around its large vertical kidney grilles. However, once out in the open and finished with the gorgeous Isle of Man Green, the super sedan immediately looked natural and purposeful.
With over 500 hp driving the rear wheels, the BMW M3 Competition was easily the car that felt more ‘alive’ on Sepang Circuit, especially on the fast switchback bends.
- Engine: 3.0-litre inline-six, twin-turbocharged
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Drivetrain: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, active limited-slip diff
- Max Horsepower: 510 hp
- Max Torque: 650 Nm
- 0-100 km/h: 3.9 seconds
- Top speed: 250 km/h
The Toyota GR Yaris might have the lowest measurable numeral (except its RM290k price tag) compared to the rest of the field, the little hot-hatch delivered the most smiles on both on track as well as around regular roads.
The lightest new vehicle not only in this segment but also perhaps since the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 twins also delivers that refreshing feel of instantaneous direction change.
- Engine: 1.6-litre inline-three, turbocharged
- Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission, auto rev-matching
- Drivetrain: Front-engine, variable four-wheel drive (GR-Four), limited-slip diff
- Max Horsepower: 261 hp
- Max Torque: 360 Nm
- 0-100 km/h: 5.5 seconds
- Top speed: 230 km/h
The recently introduced Bridgestone Potenza Sport tyres also performed flawlessly around Sepang, ensuring traction, grip and feedback to Eu Jin as he and the rest of the drivers experienced the Toyota GR Yaris on the circuit.
Volkswagen products have always been a regular feature and favourite with the AutoBuzz.my team. The latest Arteon R-Line 4Motion is perhaps the biggest shocker thanks to its high-performance levels as well as retail pricing of under RM250k.
- Engine: 2.0-litre inline-four, turbocharged
- Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG)
- Drivetrain: Front-engine, all-wheel drive (4Motion)
- Max Horsepower: 280 hp
- Max Torque: 350 Nm
- 0-100 km/h: 5.6 seconds
- Top speed: 250 km/h
The Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4Motion also showed its corner-carving qualities and grip at the circuit thanks to the superior 4Motion all-wheel drive system plus Dynamic Chassis Control electronically controlled adaptive shock absorbers.
It was indeed a privilege for everyone involved to sample the collection of powerful and grippy cars in the safe and vast open confines of Sepang circuit.
*Our biggest appreciation to Ferrari (Naza Italia), Porsche (Sime Darby Auto Performance), Aston Martin Kuala Lumpur, BMW Group Malaysia, UMW Toyota Motor, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia, Bridgestone Tyre Sales Malaysia and Sepang International Circuit for their unwavering support in making this possible.
Ferrari SF90 Spider
Porsche Taycan Turbo S
Aston Martin DBX
BMW M3 Competition (G80)
Toyota GR Yaris
Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 4Motion