It has taken some time, but Car of the Year will finally branch from its annual event held in USA, and hold its first-ever Asian edition in Singapore.
Scheduled to take place from 13 to 16 September at Marina Bay Sands, groups of invited judges will be called upon to determine which automobile will be worthy of being crowned Robb Report’s Car of the Year 2016, with vehicles from Audi, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, McLaren and Porsche vying for the title. Suffice to say, all these cars are at the top of their respective classes in their own right, as to even be shortlisted for Robb Report’s Car of the Year is no mean feat in itself.
Not only will these judges have a chance to sample the best automotive treats over a day of driving against the backdrop of the city’s iconic skyline, they will also have a chance to sample some stellar culinary treats, courtesy of Marina Bay Sands.
Here are the participating brands to whet your appetite.
Vorsprung durch Technik, which translates roughly to mean ‘advancement through technology’, goes the Audi tagline, and it’s only fitting that its cars live up to that claim. Its automobiles feature many examples of high-tech wizardry including all-digital dashboards, stunning modernist interiors and exterior designs dominated by clean lines and razor-sharp creases. While Audi has traditionally been known for producing fast saloons and coupes, it ventured into supercar territory with the R8, a car that had a starring role as Tony Stark’s ride in Iron Man.
James Bond’s choice of conveyance, Aston Martin’s cars are the very embodiment of the fictional spy. Like Bond, an Aston Martin is equal parts dapper, capable of great turns of speed and being absolutely brutish if the situation calls for it. The Gaydon-based carmaker is also on a roll right now – it recently launched a slew of limited-run hypercars, including the track-only Vulcan and AM-RB 001, a collaboration with Formula One team, Red Bull Racing. On the road car side of things, it recently debuted the DB11, a car that our favourite British spy would surely approve of.
It’s safe to say that Jaguar is enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now. It released the F-Type (whose design was inspired by the curves of the legendary E-Type) to great fanfare, and in addition to that, debuted its first SUV, the hotly anticipated F-Pace. It should also go without saying that no matter where you look in the Jaguar range, its cars more than live up to the carmaker’s lithe feline namesake. Yes, that’s true even for the XJ limousine.
If you can believe it, the stable of the raging bull was once in the doldrums, going bankrupt in 1978 and with ownership changing hands multiple times through the 1980s and 1990s. These days, it’s hard to describe the Italian carmaker as anything but, well, bullish. In its line-up today, it has the brutal Aventador and the racy Huracan, along with numerous outlandish limited-run specials. In addition to that, it’s on the cusp of releasing an all-new SUV, and we have no doubt it’ll be a rip-roaring success, charging into the hugely competitive luxury SUV sector with the sort of aplomb only Lamborghini can muster.
Large, and very much in charge. Land Rover’s vehicles have a reputation for being imposing, imperious and it’s only ever built SUVs, long before it was fashionable to, and long before the term SUV even entered the automotive lexicon. At any rate, its modern vehicles have stuck to the same formula, with the Range Rover still the benchmark for all-terrain luxury, as it has been for decades. However, Land Rover has proved it isn’t afraid of moving with the times, as the Evoque so eloquently demonstrates.
Far and away the youngest carmaker competing here, McLaren nevertheless has proved it’s capable of locking horns with the best, as it did back in the 1990s with the groundbreaking F1. A gap of 20 years would ensue before McLaren would produce another road car, the 12C (the collaboration with Mercedes-Benz on the SLR doesn’t really count), and boy, was it worth the wait. McLaren then followed it up a few years later with the sensational P1 hybrid hypercar and subsequently, with cars in its Sports Series, cars which are supposedly entry-level, but whose performance is anything but.
A true measure of a car’s iconic status is when even the most car-clueless people can recognise it. Case in point: the 911 Carrera, with a timeless silhouette that has survived virtually unchanged throughout the half-century since it was first introduced. The 911 cemented Porsche’s reputation for making fantastic sports cars, but in recent years, Zuffenhausen has also been known to produce equally capable saloons, in the form of the Panamera, or SUVs like the Cayenne and Macan. However, given its diverse model range these days, one thing is common to all Porsches, namely, remarkably spry handling; fully living up to its claim that there’s a racecar at the heart of every Porsche.