Last year was all about major revamps in the auto lineups, but 2016 has delivered a sweeter surprise, with a lineup of brand new models from some of the swankiest labels in the industry including Ferrari, Maserati, and Bentley. Bently is has delivered its first SUV, said to be the most powerful ever made, while Maserati seems to have contacted the SUV fever as well, preparing to launch its first sport utility vehicle in the first quarter of 2016. Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes, and Mazda have some noteable new releases. Many are already in the showrooms, and a few will be appearing soon, and they’re all worth keeping an eye out for. Read on to find out why.
Mercedes Benz AMG GT S
Finally Mercedes Benz joins the GT (Grand Tourer) league with the AMG GT S. A successor to the German giant’s now defunct SLR and SLS series, the latest super-car has evolved into a super-sports grand tourer.
Very much resembling its predecessor; the SLS AMG, the new GT bids adieu to the gullwing doors of the SLS and the butterfly SLR doors, but retains the long and exaggerated front.
Not only meant to impart killer looks, this feature serves a purpose as it allows for the V8 a front-mid engine configuration in which the engine sits ahead of the driver, but still behind the front axle, resulting in a more balanced propulsion. Raw power is provided by the AMG developed dry sump 4-litre V-8 bi-turbo engine, churning out 503bhp at 6500rpm and 650Nm torque at just 1750rpm, hurling the beast from 0 – 100 in just 3 seconds. The GT S tops out at a breathtaking 311kph (electronically restricted). Pity the old 6.2-litre V8 is no more: killed by legislation.
The Mercedes GT S is a halo sports car which is truly handsome in its own right, and seems to be aiming straight at the heart of Porsche.
Ferrari 488 Spider
Ferrari, the gerent of the sportscar genre, has come up with its latest roadster, the 488 Spider—a drop-top version of the 488 GTB, set to replace the 2012 Ferrari 458 Spider.
Other than the removable top, all of the key design features of the 488 GTB remain intact on the latest Spider, including the wide-open front air intake, the air ducts in the hood, the scalloped rear air intakes, and the 458 Italia design cues.
The 488 Spider is quite stiff with a space frame chassis made of 11 aluminum alloys and other noble metals such as magnesium, making it 23 per cent more rigid than the 458 Spider it replaces. Although the 488 Spider is 110 pounds heavier than the GTB due to its reinforced structure, Ferrari claims the drop-top is as quick as the coupe. The 488 GTB derived 3.9-litre, turbocharged V-8 mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission delivers the same gut churning 661bhp and 760 Nm of torque, to produce insane acceleration times with a 0-to-100 sprint in mere 2.9 seconds and 0 to 200kph in 8.3 seconds. Top speed, though, has slightly dropped from 330 to 326kph.
The retractable roof is carried over from the 458 Spider and remains a two-part, electronically folding top. The rear glass window can be adjusted to three positions to optimise windflow when the top is down. With the top up, the rear glass can be still be lowered to enjoy the gruntyengine soundtrack, but to get the most out of this beauty, it’s better to fly topless.
Lamborghini HuracÁn LP 580-2
How could the prancing horse ever be spared, but by the charging bull? Aventadors and Huracans are Lamborghini’s answer to eternal archnemesis Ferrari’s GTBs and Spiders, and just a year after its entry-level supercar Huracan’s release, the iconic Italian sports-car brand is debuting the new Huracán LP580-2.
The rear-wheel drive LP 580-2 is basically a toned down LP 6610-4, with lopped off front axle, and de-tuned, naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine. But don’t take to heart the word ‘de-tuned’ in case of the LP 580-2.
The mid-mounted engine delivers 572bhp at 8,000 rpm and 540Nm torque at just 6,500 rpm (pretty much equal to many of the full blown sports-cars). Linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the 10-cylinder menacingly propels the coupe from 0 – 100kph in just 3.4 seconds, and to 200kph in 10.1 seconds. Add to that a raging top speed of 318kph, and its easy to see why the LP 580-2 is being lauded as the most engaging and driver-focused street-legal Lamborghini ever built.
Mazda MX–5 MIATA
The world’s bestselling roadster is all-new with the MX-5 Miata, a resurection of the car that made motoring fun again 25 years ago by reviving the affordable, open-top segment.
Now entering its fourth generation, the MX-5 is genuinely brand new from the ground up—chassis, suspension, engine, cabin, bodywork—everything. But the basic package hasn’t changed. Mx5 still keeps things absolutely simple with no mindboggling supertech, just a two-seater soft-top powered by a compact four cylinder engine with a six-speed manual gearbox (though now there is a six-speed automatic option).
The Miata has only got a 2 liter engine with 155bhp and 200Nm torque, so it would be easy to conclude that it hasn’t got enough power to get things really going, but in a car that weighs less than a tonne, it is plenty. Miata’s 2.0-liter four is derived from the base engine of the Mazda 3, but the character has been changed to suit the quirky Miata. A lighter flywheel and tuning make it quicker to rev with improved throttle response. The result is a whole lot quicker Miata that can do the 0-100 run in just 5.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 205kph, Pretty exceptional for a budget ride.
The SKYACTIV-G engine is torquey, sounds great and is well matched to the super-smooth chassis. The use of aluminum keeps weight down, and the Miata remains eminently in control in the twists and turns. The Miata isn’t about dominating the track, it is about having fun driving a zippy, fun car, which the MX-5 delivers in spades.
Lexus GS F
The high-performance luxury sedan segment thus far has been dominated by the German Big3, but with the launch of the Lexus GS F comes a potent new Japanese contender. Endowed with superior power and bathed in plushness, this one promises to deliver a performance that surpasses all expectations.
Recently unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, the Lexus GS F has arrived in Muscat to thrill performance lovers with a perfect blend of distinctive luxury and sports car values, featuring a massive V8, unique bodywork, and a chassis tuned for high performance.
The 5.0 litre, 467bhp, 527Nm, V8 is probably one of the last normally aspirated big block performance sedans in a market dominated by smaller turbo-charged engines. As the car roars from 0 to 100kph in a mere 4.6 seconds, the highly tuned engine creates what could be called as “total aural ecstasy”. Making matters even more ecstatic is the Lexus’s Active Sound Control which augments the engine sounds through the front and rear speakers. The system does a real unexaggerated job, and the sound outside the car is just as good as inside.So good is the engine sound, that it is easy to even ignore the super premium Mark Levinson audio system.
From road to track; the GS F packs varied power and performance outputs, and the Lexus’ Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) with two electro-mechanical clutch packs offering different levels of traction and steering response according to the situation.
Along with all the sporty touches, the feature-packed GS F retains a luxurious feel thanks to the high-grade Alcantara trims enveloping the interior amidst all that leather and bucket seats. Adding a feel of exclusivity, the ‘F’ logo is placed strategically around the car as a reminder to the driver (and others on the road) that the special ride was inspired by the Fuji Racetrack, whose first corner, 27R, is reflected in the shape of the ‘F’ badge.
We start with the most anticipated release of the season: the Bentley Bentayga. The long awaited unveiling of the much-hyped SUV has been the topic of discussion since 2012, and Bentley Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer had vowed the Bentayga to be “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, and most exclusive SUV ever made”.
And though the claims are yet to be proven on the tarmac, on paper it looks like the promise has been kept. The first ever ultra-luxury SUV is armed with Bentley’s 6.0-litre W-12 behemoth, mustering 600bhp, and earth pounding
The four-wheel drive, has eight-speed automatic transmission with eight driving modes: Sport, Bentley, Comfort, and Custom, plus four off-road modes. The air suspension system offers four ride heights and there is the electronic hill decent system too.
The sybaritic giant is claimed to go 0 to 100 in a sports-car-like four seconds and hit a top speed of 300kph. That beats the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and the Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 S AMG Coupe by roughly 15kph.
Each Bentayga will be handmade in Crewe, England; the most skilled hands attending to the finest details most intricately.
Range Rover might soon have many sworn enemies — Rolls-Royce is thinking about an SUV, Aston Martin is also considering one, and there will no doubt be others who come along. But while others remain unconfirmed threats, another super premium SUV, the Maserati Levante, is muscling its way onto the market this year just behind the Bentley Bentayga (Its global debut is slated for the Geneva motor show this March). The car is heavily inspired by the 2011 Kubang concept and the 2014 Alfieri sports car concept, as confirmed by Giulio Pastore, GM, Maserati (Europe Division). Maserati Head and CTO, Harald Wester revealed that the Levante will be based on “100 percent Maserati parts,” borrowing nothing from other Fiat-Chrysler brands, including Jeep. The Levante will be sized and priced between the Ghibli and Quattroporteand, and will use the same V6 and V8 engines, transmissions (borrowing the 8-Speed ZF Automatic Transmission from the sixth generation Maserati Quattroporte), and all-wheel drive system.
Initially, the four-wheel-drive SUV will feature Maserati’s 3.0L V6 engine, in two tunings: 350bhp and 425bhp, and by 2018, a 560 plus horsepower V8 will also be added.
Named after the Via Emilia Levante in Bologna - where the Maserati brothers dreamt up their namesake company about a century ago; the Levant has the feel of a mid-size luxury crossover, making it strong a potent rival for the Porsche Cayenne and Macan.