x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Outstanding vehicles are worth the wait

2013 promises to be another bumper year for car fans

Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

Who would have thought the mad Lambo could possibly become better looking by having its roof removed? In time for the summer months, the Aventador LP700-4 Roadster, to give it its full moniker, will be launched with a 0-100kph time of 3.0 seconds (0.1 slower than the coupé) and a top speed of 350kph.

The car will feature some subtle changes to its bodywork, including reshaped B-pillars and a new bonnet with a central spine that runs over the entire body. You'll be able to see that magnificent V12 engine thanks to a glazed cover, and the removable roof panel promises to be less convoluted than the previous Murcielago's fiddly canvas arrangement.

Naturally, this all comes with a hefty price increase, which will probably equate to Dh206,000 more than the coupé.

Tesla Model S

Already making waves with worldwide media, the Model S is being praised as the most credible all-electric car yet made, and it's possible that we'll get to sample its delights in the UAE.

It's a big car, almost 5 metres long and 2m wide, weighing a considerable 2,106 kilograms. But the fact that all its 600 newton metre torque is on tap from the word go means that acceleration is breathtaking, with the 0-100 dash taking just 4.4 seconds - fast enough to bother BMW M5 owners.

The Model S's physical size works in its favour by allowing it more interior room and boot space than its German saloon rivals, and it's extremely good looking. That radiator grille is a fake, put there to make it look more "normal", and the interior is as gorgeous as the exterior. It has an impressive range, too, with almost 500km available between charges.

Renault Clio

The fourth generation Clio is big news for the supermini segment. Having lost the plot somewhat with the Mk3, Renault did the decent thing and poached Mazda's Laurens van den Acker as its chief stylist and charged him with giving back the Clio its mojo and Gallic flair.

Mission accomplished. The new Clio packs an impressive visual punch, inside and out, upping the sense of fun and joie de vivre the earlier cars were known and loved for. It's 100kg lighter than the previous one and the engines are more efficient, meaning Renault has been able to fit a fuel tank that holds 10 litres less without compromising on range.

A Clio Williams is slated for a 2014 launch, with 220 horsepower. Start campaigning for it to be brought here; it could very well be a game changer.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

As a standard car, the new, seventh generation Golf has already impressed us with its bulletproof build and sheer class - something most mass manufacturers can only dream of replicating. But the one we're really looking forward to in 2013 is the GTI, the model that changed everything when it was launched back in 1974, inventing the whole hot hatch genre at a stroke.

Promising more than 220hp from a 2.0L, turbocharged motor lifted from the current Audi S3, it should be an absolute riot and yet, with Volkswagen's remarkable ability to increase efficiency at the same time as power, it will be able to return superb fuel economy to the tune of 6.0L/100km. A convertible is expected, too.

Mazda 6

This should win the mid-size saloon battle on looks alone when it goes on sale in 2013. With all the right creases and curves in all the right places, the new 6 is a rakish, sporty- looking thing that will broaden Mazda's appeal far beyond the current family man with 2.4 kids.

Thankfully, early reports suggest that the driving experience lives up to the looks, with a rigorous weight saving exercise and increased efficiency combining to make it sprightly as well as impressively frugal, with some models sipping only 3.9 litres every 100km.

Porsche Cayman

As a driver's car, the Cayman has always excelled. How could it not? With a punchy, six-cylinder boxer engine mounted amidships, it took the already superb Boxster recipe and added extra dynamism thanks to its stiffer structure.

But it always looked a bit strange, didn't it? That's been dealt with by Porsche, where the design team has obviously had a kick up the derrière. Result? The new Cayman is distinctive, with a nose that's different from the Boxster's. It is wider, lower and has a longer wheelbase than before, yet it weighs 20kg less thanks to more aluminium being used in its structure. Trust us, this will be epic fun.

Volkswagen Beetle R

Evidently fed up to the back teeth with the Beetle being viewed as a bit girly, Volkswagen will, in 2013, be injecting the new Bug with previously unheard of levels of testosterone, resulting in the Beetle R.

First seen as "nothing more than a concept" (yeah, right) at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the hot new Beetle will be powered by an engine similar to those fitted in the Golf and Scirocco R models. This means upwards of 260hp and a deep bass rumble to complement the macho external addenda, which will include a unique front bumper section, a lower ride height and gorgeous 20-inch alloy wheels, all of which, Volkswagen will be hoping, is enough to make the Beetle man itself up.

Ferrari Enzo

Heavily disguised test mules have been doing the rounds for ages now, with the camo being so infuriatingly effective that nobody outside the company has any idea just what Ferrari's new hypercar will actually look like.

But we have heard from Ferrari's president himself, Luca di Montezemolo, that it is coming in 2013, with a hybrid Formula One-inspired kinetic energy recovery system to improve its green credentials. Which will be difficult, given the fact that the car, known internally as the F70, will be producing around 900hp. We might see it at the Geneva show in March but Ferrari may yet choose to unveil it away from the motor show circus at a later date. Whenever it does appear, though, get in quick because it's bound to sell out immediately.

Jaguar F-Type

Prepare to fall head-over-heels in love with a cat. We were the first to see the F-Type in all its glory, even before its debut at the Paris Motor Show, and we're still recovering. It is stupefyingly beautiful.

The really exciting thing about the F-Type, though, is that it signifies Jaguar returning to its sportscar roots - not seen since the late 1960s, when the E-Type was still a lithe and sexy little mover. The F will initially be only available as a convertible with two engines: a supercharged, 3.0L V6 and a normally aspirated, 5.0L V8. They both sound extraordinary. Pricing will be somewhere between the Porsche Boxster and the 911, meaning that the F-Type could very well do what its illustrious forebear did: completely dominate the sports car market.

McLaren MP4-12C Spider

We've already seen it, sure, but the MP4-12C (time has done nothing to diminish the ridiculousness of that name) Spider is still cause for New Year celebrations.

For anyone who found the looks of the original to be a bit bland, prepare to salivate over the Spider, with its sharper profile, flying buttresses and electrically folding hardtop roof. It gets the same upgraded, 3.8L, twin-turbo V8 engine as the coupé, and matches its 0-100 time of 3.1 seconds while offering a theoretical top speed of 328kph - fast enough for all but the criminally insane.

The standard car has sold in extremely healthy numbers all over the world but McLaren is expecting the Spider to do even better. We won't argue with that.

 

khackett@thenational.ae