Despite the challenges, we thought 2022 was still a pretty good year, especially with the amount of new car launches we’re getting here in Malaysia. Still, we can’t actually call it a good year until we’ve had our AutoBuzz.my year-end extravaganza, so we brought along seven of our favourite cars of the year (it was a struggle to pick, trust us!) to Sepang International Circuit for a boys’ day out.
If you haven’t watched the video yet, we’d recommend you to go watch that first (here!) – because in addition to just the cars, it’s also your opportunity to get to know the AutoBuzz boys a little more too!
This year’s cars selection is perhaps our most diverse yet, ranging from the usual supercars to not one, but two EVs, and even a pick-up truck. While we didn’t necessarily have a criteria for our picks, here are some justifications for why they deserved to be in our #ABC2022 line-up, along with some pretty pictures for your consumption!
Ferrari 296 GTS
The automotive industry is rushing towards electrification, and Ferrari is no different. But instead of chasing ultimate efficiency, the Ferrari 296 GTS’ hybrid system is designed for maximum fun and outright performance.
Together with the new “picollo V12” 3.0-litre V6 engine, the entire hybrid-assisted powertrain pushes out 830 hp and 740 Nm in total. And in practice, that means the long straights of Sepang just disappear in a blink of an eye.
Just like the Ferrari, the McLaren Artura here is also a plug-in hybrid. But what makes the McLaren stand out is its undivided devotion to driving feel – so much so that it doesn’t even have regenerative braking in the name of pedal feel, and it also still uses the good ol’ hydraulic steering.
And of course, its performance is nothing to scoff about too – 680 hp and 720 Nm might not sound like much compared to the 296 GTS, but it’s also quite a bit lighter, so it’s really not as far off as you’d imagine…
Volkswagen Golf R
Volkswagen redefined the hot hatch segment with the Golf R32 back in 2003. Now 20 years later, the Golf R is still on top of almost everyone’s list when it comes to track toys. It’s got 320 hp and 400 Nm and all-wheel drive, which mean a 0-100 km/h sprint of just 4.8 seconds.
But the most impressive aspect of the car, to us, is its duality in driving characteristics. When you’re chasing lap time, just tidy up your inputs and the car will happily carve through corners like it’s on rails. But when you feel like you just want to have some fun, it’s also capable of letting you slide around a bit – there’s a reason the car even has a “drift mode” in other countries.
Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+
The four remaining cars in the list is, well, let’s just say you wouldn’t normally see it at the track. But like we’ve said before, our only criteria was that we liked it, and we certainly liked the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+.
It’s the kind of car that you’ll want to be in when you’re not driving hard on track, but even then, its performance doesn’t disappoint, too. Powered by a single motor on the rear axle, the EQS 450+ is capable of outputting 333 hp and 565 Nm, enough for a 0-100 km/h time of 6.2 seconds. And you’d be surprised at how well it can still handle itself on track despite its weight.
The most impressive EV we had on hand was, surprisingly (or not?), an SUV. With two electric motors, the Kia EV6 makes a total of 320 hp and 650 Nm, enough to propel it to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. But just like any other EVs, their pièce de résistance is the instant torque from the slightest squeeze of the accelerator. You can already imagine how addictive it is on track…
Land Rover Defender 110 P400
The Land Rover Defender just exudes presence wherever it is, be it off roads, or on the track out of its natural habitat. Land Rover diehards will chide that the all-new Defender has lost its soul, but for everyone else, it’s still a very impressive SUV with added style and a chassis that can go anywhere.
Ford Ranger Raptor
What’s a truck doing on Sepang, you ask? Well, it’s only because the Ford Ranger Raptor has a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 engine underneath its bonnet. Not only does it look imposing, it also sounds angrier than even the Volkswagen Golf R.
The Ranger Raptor is truly a sports car hidden inside of a pick-up truck’s body, and doesn’t feel out of place at all when placed amongst the other cars we have on track, despite what its size and appearance might suggest.