The country’s largest new car event of the year is back and bigger before! Burnpavement takes you through the 20+ new models making their debut in Singapore this year.
After the phenomenal success of the Singapore Motorshow last year (which itself came back after a 6-year hiatus), the Motor Traders Association of Singapore (MTA) has brought the event back for 2016, with even more floor space and more exhibitors taking part. The show is on currently at Suntec City Convention Centre levels 3 and 4, from now till 17 January.
As with any national car show, the biggest highlight is to find out what spanking new metal the manufacturers have in store in the coming year, and debutants were in no short supply this time around. With more than 20 new or facelifted models being launched, there simply isn’t enough space to write about all of them here; so in alphabetical order, here is part 1 of our 2016 Motorshow coverage.
The A4 has consistently been Audi’s volume seller and as such is one of its most important models. Now in its 5th generation, the car is underpinned by the latest evolution of the MLB platform matrix (the longitudinal version of the VW Group’s transverse MQB matrix), and is up to 120kg lighter than its predecessor.
For our market, the A4 will come in 1.4 TFSI guise with 150hp, and features an updated interior with an improved MMI infotainment system (that supports Apple CarPlay) as well as the Audi Virtual Cockpit, a fully digital 12.3-inch screen that can display navigation and entertainment info in the instrument cluster.
Arguably the most stunning new model on display at this year’s show, the second generation of Audi’s seminal supercar was specially flown in as a sneak preview to whet customers’ appetites ahead of its proper launch later this year.
Since its introduction in 2006, the R8 has been a massive sales success and – thanks to repeated stints in Hollywood as Iron Man’s preferred wheels – done wonders for Audi’s brand image. But whereas the old car started out as a relatively humble V8, the new one is shooting straight for the big leagues as a V10, with either 540 hp, or 610 hp in the Plus model.
BMW 216d Active Tourer
BMW 216d Active Tourer
The BMW stand was relatively quiet this year, with the new 7-series making its first public appearance (the car’s official launch was held back in November), and the arrival of a new engine variant in the 2-series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer.
The Active Tourer is not only BMW’s first MPV, but sadly, also the first ever front-engine, front wheel drive car to bear the iconic kidney grilles on its nose. Previously the Active Tourer was available only in petrol 218i guise, but now Performance Motors have launched the Cat A-friendly 216d, which utilises the same 1.5L three-cylinder diesel as found in the 116d, an engine we rather liked.
Citroen DS 5
Citroens have long been quirky, offbeat choices in the car market, offering advanced styling and plush ride comfort to those who simply find German and Japanese rivals too sensible. With its egg-shaped silhouette and cockpit-inspired interior, the flagship DS 5 certainly fits that description.
For 2016 the DS 5 receives a facelift that previews what all future DS models would look like, providing a common brand identity as Citroen strives to further differentiate its DS sub-brand. Under the skin, a new six-speed automatic replaces the horrid automated manual ETG gearbox, and is mated to a 1.6-litre BlueHGi diesel engine. The interior has also been revamped, with a new touchscreen interface that decreases the dashboard’s button count, and that also supports MirrorLink – a connectivity system that allows drivers to access certain phone apps via the touchscreen.
Ford Grand C-Max
Ford certainly had their sensible caps on at this year’s show, as they brought along two decidedly family-oriented 7-seaters: the Grand C-Max and new S-Max. Usually championed in car reviews as the driving enthusiast’s MPVs, thanks to their sleek looks and rewarding handling, the two can now add power to their repetoire – thanks to Ford’s Ecoboost technology, the Grand C-Max and S-Max can lay claim to being the most powerful compact and mid-sized MPVs sold in Singapore, packing 150 and 240hp respectively.
In addition to the power and handling, the two also come with several features that help minimise distractions while on the road, such as SYNC-2 voice-activated connectivity system, Active Park Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.
If your speed itch still hasn’t been scratched, then worry not. Word on the Fast Ford grapevine is that the Focus RS and long-awaited Mustang will reach our shores in the 2nd half of this year!
Prices: S$146,999 (Grand C-Max), $TBC (S-Max)
If you’re a Honda fan, there’s much to be excited about in the near future, with the launch overseas of the new FK-generation Civic Type R, as well as the news that our next Civic sedan might be getting a 180hp turbocharged 1.5L engine. For now though, Kah Motors is introducing the new Legend, and is billing it its flagship sports sedan.
Bearing the Legend’s history in mind you could be forgiven any skepticism about the ’sports sedan’ moniker, but one glance at the spec sheet will quash those thoughts – the Legend’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD drivetrain means it’s powered by not only a 382hp 3.5L V6, but also three electric motors. Two of those are situated at the rear and provide 27kW of power to each individual wheel, and are capable of independently supplying or retarding torque to create a torque vectoring effect.
Easily dwarfing all other debutants at the show is this, the Infiniti QX80 – the largest SUV on sale in Singapore. Standing 1.93m tall and weighing in at over 2.8 tonnes, this hulking beast would more normally be seen cruising the boulevards of America; put enough of them of them on Singaporean roads and there’s a decent chance our whole island might sink into the sea!
Still, a massive footprint means there’s room aplenty inside the car: it’s a full 7-seater, with individual captain’s chairs in the second row that can remotely flip forward for easy third row access. Hauling this leviathan around is a similarly massive 5.6-litre V8 that pushes out 400hp and 560Nm of torque. That’s enough to get the QX80 from 0-100km/h in an astonishing 7.6 seconds, though the fuel bills might drive you to tears every time you so much as think of using the throttle…
Evolution is the name of the game at Kia this year, with the launch of the new Optima. This large sedan may be more commonly seen as a taxi than a family car here in Singapore, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the sharpest looking four-doors around.
Styling changes are minimal, with just re-profiled lights and bumpers there to give the game away, and dimensions have grown marginally all around to provide a slightly roomier cabin and boot. Under the skin though, Kia claims a 50% increase in body rigidity thanks to increased use of high-strength steel, which also helps contribute to the 5-star EuroNCAP and IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus safety ratings.
Lexus GS F
One of the most tantalising prospects at the show for us at could be found over at the Lexus stand, in the form of the first-ever GS F. This car is Lexus’ second attempt at taking on the all-conquering Germans in the super-saloon market, after the delight that was the IS F back in 2008. Unlike the competition from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes though, the GS F keeps matters relatively old school, eschewing forced induction in favour of a brawny, snarling, 470hp 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 from the RC F coupe.
Despite the hot rod engine, the GS F won’t handle like an old muscle car, thanks to a strengthened and rigidified body, torque vectoring and thoroughly recalibrated suspension. There’s even a new Expert mode for the Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management system (VDIM), which significantly lowers the amount of intervention from the stability and traction control systems. Sounds like the perfect recipe for smoky, tyre-slaying action? You bet!
Mazda 2 Sedan
Mazda is on a roll right now, with an array of great looking, good value cars which, thanks to the company’s proprietary Skyactiv technology, are not only economical but also massively involving to drive. The cheapest and cheeriest model is the Mazda 2 supermini, but for all its charms it does lag behind rivals in terms of practicality.
Enter then, the Mazda 2 Sedan. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what it’s about: a Mazda 2 with a boot grafted onto the back of it. Compared to the hatch, the posterior surgery adds 260mm to the length of the car, and increases luggage space from a paltry 250 litres to a more decent 414. In all other respects though, the two are exactly the same.
The far more interesting proposition on the Mazda stand though, was the CX-3 baby crossover. Based on the underpinnings of the 2, Mazda claims the CX-3 is ”one of the year’s most anticipated new cars”, offering chunky SUV styling without taking up too much space on the road. The CX-3 won’t officially be launched till the second half of 2016 though, so this is strictly a preview only.