We’re well over the halfway point in 2018 but the motoring world is just getting started. Y’s Alvin Thomas picks out the best cars to look out for on Oman’s roads this year.
Taking the decision to splurge your hard-earned cash on a car is a difficult one – but narrowing down the choice is even harder.
There are thousands of options available and choosing one can be a problem, especially if you’re not up-to-date about what’s new on the market.
But buying a car should be a pleasure not a chore. Here, we have compiled the top five releases of 2018 that merge the latest technology with the attributes most motorists want. This has been a fantastic year for the motoring world, and it’s not done yet.
1) Mercedes-Benz G-Class
“Daddy’s home”. It’s time for every other SUV to move over and make way for the master of the terrain: the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. When it comes to heritage, none surpasses the iconic G-Wagen (short for Geländewagen, “cross country vehicle”). Turn back the hands of time, and you’ll see that it was the car of choice from rulers, movie stars, politicians, top businessmen and even the military; from 1979. This remains to be the case today as well… plus the Kardashians, who seem to have taken a shine to the vehicle.
This new variant works on the existing 20th century design mantra, save for a handful of new cues peppered around the SUV to create the second generation of G-Wagens. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you’ll find a host of crucial changes – namely, independent suspension up front; two 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine options, each pumping out 416hp (G500) and 577hp (G63); a new chassis; and a swanky cockpit designed to keep it up-to-date with its competitors from the UK. Granted, this is probably the only vehicle that people will buy to swap the new front end for the retro one.
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 416hp and 577hp
Torque: 610Nms and 850Nms
2) Lexus ES
The ES has always been something of an afterthought for Lexus, even though it earned much acclaim for being a sales success in the Middle East. Sitting in the lineup – remaining largely unchanged for about six years – it was about time the sedan had a revamp.
The rejuvenated look that the new ES will come with, then, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Much like the design-language, the sedan is also expected to incorporate the latest infotainment gizmos and safety features from its larger LS sibling. While no details have been mentioned about the powertrains yet, expect several options ranging from a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a set of electric motors, and a rawer 3.5-litre V6.
Engine: 2.5-litre in-line four cylinder/ 3.5-litre V6
3) Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
Power, style, and a bit of sophistication: that’s what makes the Aston Martins of today so distinctive. Its status as a Bond car aside, there’s a lot to like about the British carmaker’s latest fleet – and the DBS Superleggera, we think is the icing on the cake. Not only do we believe it to be one of the best-looking cars ever made, it’s also packing a monstrosity of an engine underneath: a 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12. In its all glorious form, the motor will breathe out an astounding 715hp and 900Nms of torque. This puts it on a par with the best the Italians can offer. And by the way, Superleggera is Italian for “superlight”. At 1.6 tonnes, it’s no petite supermodel on wheels but at least it does look like one. It’s the type of car you’d want to pull out your smartphone to photograph.
Engine: 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12
4) BMW Z4
A two-seater convertible sports car with a punchy engine and a BMW badge to go along with it? That sounds like the perfect recipe for a fun-filled weekend on the twisty mountain roads of Oman. That said, we still think that this is one of the most controversial cars on the road this year.
On paper, the BMW-sourced 3.0-litre straight-six engine producing 340hp sounds enticing but, underneath it all, it’s a Toyota – a Toyota Supra, to be specific. While we’re not fazed by the shared architecture, it must be seen if this soft-top roadster, which boasts 50:50 balance, a wide track, and a short wheelbase, can outrun the Jaguar F-Type S and the mid-engined Porsche Boxster it pits itself against. Our hunch is that it can.
Engine: 3.0-litre straight-six
5) Jeep Wrangler
If the classic 1990s Honda Civic was the car young people aspired to own back in the day, today it’s the Jeep Wrangler. A Wrangler with beefed-up suspension, tyres that can put Jupiter’s moons to shame, and a custom cat-back exhaust system: that seems to be the dream. So, it’s not wrong to say that the SUV has gained something of a cult status here in the Sultanate.
Nevertheless, for 2018, the Wrangler has some important quirks, the most important of which, according to journalists who have driven it, is on-road refinement. Sure, it still comes with removable doors, adjustable windscreen and a versatile roof but it’s the newly-designed interior and the added tech toys that have us waiting eagerly for its local launch. Engine options are expected to remain the same: you’ll still get the noisy but functional Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, and a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo motor.
Engine: 3.6-litre V6/ 2.0-litre turbo four