Y’s motoring expert Alvin Thomas reveals the cars that he likes, and everyone else wants.
Ferrari’s replacement for the old 458 Italia – the Ferrari 488 Spider – has to be the best car I drove over the past year. Its flowing lines and exotic looks also make this the best-looking car to have come out of Italy last year. In the middle of the car lies a 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 pumping out an astonishing 661hp and 760Nm of torque. The car is lightning-quick off the line (hitting the 100kph mark in only 2.9 seconds), and it attacks corners like no other supercar does. There’s no doubt this has to be the best supercar prowling around the roads of Oman today.
Very rarely do I get attached to the cars I drive. But, the Range Rover Sport SVR left a lasting impression on me. I wanted to keep my test car with me…forever. This souped-up “SVR” version of the British-marque not only changed the image of the most versatile SUV on the market today but also made it one of the most desirable SUVs out there. And with 550hp and 680Nm of twist, it is also one of the fastest SUVs in the world. Don’t agree with me? Try listening to its exhaust note on YouTube. This is an off-road ready SUV, with almost Ferrari-levels of performance.
How did the Ford Edge shed its family-hauler tag and become a track-ready SUV? To be honest, even I have no idea. Truth be told, I’m still only recovering from the shock I received when I pushed my foot hard on the accelerator. Of course, the Edge Sport will still seat five in complete comfort and sip on fuel like a family saloon; but when the time comes (maybe on a race track), it will munch on its rivals from Europe. All the muscle comes from a 2.7-litre turbocharged V6 engine, pumping out 335hp and 542Nm of torque. The Edge Sport is so fast and poised that even the Mustang would be proud of it.
It didn’t take me long to like the Ferrari California T. For starters, it is a Ferrari, and you’d have to be monumentally imprudent to dislike one. But, the California T is more than just a Ferrari: it’s actually a very good grand-tourer and an even better sports car. It houses a 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 upfront, generating 560hp and 755Nm of torque, and hits the 100kph mark in a mere 3.6 seconds. What’s more astonishing is that it can do those speeds while carrying four people (if you really don’t mind squeezing your friends). Apart from that, it rides really well, and also takes corners with grace and finesse.
The Lincoln MKZ is what I would call elegant: It’s a very good car, wrapped in a very sophisticated and stylish body. The interior is plush and the seats are comfortable too, especially if you’re looking to travel long distances in it. The MKZ is powered by a 3.7-litre V6 producing 300hp and 375Nm of torque. But despite all the numbers, the most amazing feature of this car has to be the one-piece panoramic moonroof. It’s essentially a convertible sedan! How often do you hear of something like that, and why wouldn’t you want to be in one?
The Volvo XC90 was one of those vehicles that I looked at and asked: “Why does this vehicle only cost this much?” It’s got an abundance of tech on-board as standard, and it also brakes and drives itself when you need it to. But if you leave all the tech aside, you’re still left with a beautiful SUV, with an even prettier “Swedish” interior. Aside from that, if you go for the Inscription variant, you will get real wood panels, plush leather seats and even more tech goodies. All of this, coupled with a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine putting out 320hp makes way for a perfect SUV.
On the face of things, the Macan may not look much different to a Cayenne, or even make much sense if you were looking for a five-seater Porsche. If you were, you would most likely end up with the more spacious Cayenne. But the Macan is better than the latter for one very good reason: its character. The SUV feels reminiscent of a Porsche sports car (maybe like the 718 Boxster S we tested this week), and even takes corners without much drama. It also has 340hp and 460Nm of twist on tap, thanks to its 3.0-litre turbocharged V6. If you have the guts, you can also drift the SUV into corners like a pro-racing driver. It’s all the car you will ever need.
I’m not sure why the world is so sceptical about the Ghibli: it derives its name from a classic Italian sports car, drives and handles like a dream, and also seats five adults in comfort while doing so. In short, it’s everything you need from an Italian sedan. My tester SQ4 variant came with a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6, generating 410hp and 550Nm of torque, which also made it quite swift. This, coupled with Maserati’s exhaust, makes this the most soulful car I’ve driven in 2016.
The Chevrolet Malibu LTZ was released in 2016, making it the youngest car we tested last year. It’s incredibly spacious (you can seat six little kids in the back!), and there’s quite a lot of tech on board too. This should fare well with families and kids. The ride is also silky smooth, and the seats are very complacent – and overall, it makes way for the perfect family hauler. With 186hp on tap, the Malibu is also surprisingly swift.