BEST HOT HATCH
AUDI RS3 SPORTBACK
Audi’s audacious pocket rocket packs a turbocharged 2.5-litre 5-cylinder with 367bhp, 465Nm and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
On our score sheets, the RS3 is the highest scorer in Performance (one point ahead of the BMW M2) and the second-highest scorer in Handling (five points behind the M2). The Audi’s icing on the cake is its high score in Build Quality.
One of our Car of the Year (COTY) judges, Edric Pan, said: “The RS3 was the biggest eye-opener. More sonorous than its M2 rival, and with lightning-quick steering, puppy-eager handling and searing grip through fast corners, it is a stunning B-road missile.”
Another of our COTY judges, Lionel Seah, added: “The RS3 is an outstanding all-rounder. Not only is it a hoot to pilot, it doubles as a daily ride with practical utility.”
BEST 6-CYLINDER COUPE
BMW M2 COUPE
The muscular successor to the 1 Series M Coupe is powered by a punchy turbo 3-litre straight-6 with 370bhp and 465Nm, sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
On our score sheets, the M2 is tops in Handling and shares pole position in the X Factor category with the Ford Mustang. And the BMW’s total points make it the runner-up behind the eventual Car of the Year 2016.
Tony Tan loves the Bimmer. “The M2 is the purest M car I’ve driven in a while. Excellent engine with a sonorous exhaust note; steering so full of feedback. It feels so planted while cornering and it wriggles its tail ever so lightly. The M2 is the modern-day E30 M3.”
BEST 4-CYLINDER COUPE
The American stallion has 317 ponies in its 2.3-litre EcoBoost 4-pot stable (the version tested) and 441 stronger ponies in its 5-litre V8 GT stable. It’s the first right-hand-drive Mustang to gallop into Singapore.
On our score sheets, Ford’s racehorse for the road is ahead of the rest in Styling and alongside the BMW M2 Coupe as joint X Factor winners. But the Mustang is the lowest scorer in our criteria of Ride, Build Quality and Ergonomics, and its total score is at the bottom of the board.
The Ford’s character and charisma are obvious, though. Our chief judge and consulting editor, Christopher Tan, remarked that “it feels special and has an old-school charm, it is different from what Singapore drivers are used to and it is more interesting than many cars today.”
Even our supercar expert, dentist Dr Andre Lam, is impressed. “The Mustang may not have scored well in the cold light of COTY analysis, but it just makes me smile to see and drive it.”