Many would have noticed that 2016 was a year crammed full of the world’s most exciting car releases. We’re not talking minivans and SUVs your aunt drives. These nine automobiles that broke cover this year are exhilarating pieces of automotive art, designed to attack the senses whilst setting your little heart on fire.
From pure unadulterated luxury to the kings of the Nurburgring, these are the cars that had the world talking this year.
Aston Martin DB11
Taking the aesthetic underpinnings from SPECTRE’s DB10, the DB11 turned a wild concept into reality when it broke cover as a production car at the beginning of the year. Under the race car-inspired front pivoting bonnet resides Aston Martin’s brand new 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 designed and built in house to develop a very respectable 600hp and 700Nm of torque. This gets four-seater GT to 100km/h in 3.9s before seeing a top speed of 322km/h. Power, prestige and pure British charm on wheels.
We’ve been a fan of this particular car for a while since it was announced at Geneva and today it’s become one of the most sought after modern 911 models to date. A lot of this has to do with its purity in design. No outlandish aero, no mind-boggling driver aids – just a simple 911 silhouette that’s been stripped bare, reinforced and crammed with the latest in Stuttgart powertrain. Under the trunk is the GT3 RS’ naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat six with 493hp sent to the rear wheels. Only 991 examples are destined for production.
The baby M-series car snuck in at the end of 2015 but it wasn’t until 2016 that pundits finally got to get their hands on one. Crowds weren’t disappointed with the familiar tyre-frying performance on tap albeit in a much more lighter and nimble package. Given that the M2 was designed to entice younger buyers to the M brand, the sub-$100,000 price tag wasn’t too bad for what you were getting – a classic front-engined rear wheel drive layout paired with razor sharp handling and BMW’s proven turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six delivering 365hp and 465Nm of torque alongside the standard BMW luxury appointments most would expect.
Mercedes AMG GT R
Just when you thought the AMG GT S couldn’t get any faster, Mercedes decide to lob a go-faster model at the Nurburgring and call it the GT R. Or ‘The Beast Of The Green Hell’. The car is essentially a street-legal version of the world-conquering Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car and it was built to exceed both the performance and power of the “standard” GT S model. Inside the green monster resides a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 which creates 577hp compared to the GT S’ 503hp. Torque is also up from 650Nm to 700Nm alongside a new top speed of 318km/h.
Alfa Romeo Giulia QV
Bred from Ferrari DNA and proven against the best on Germany’s Nurburgring, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV was one of the dark horses of 2016 which sent its competition packing in the performance stakes. We’d probably argue that it won the looks battle too. Quintessentially Italian in design, the Giulia hides a sinister secret in a 500hp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 that propels it from 0-100 in less than 4 seconds. Did we mention it has four doors and can also lug around your family?
Ford Focus RS
When Ford set out to build one of their most uncompromising RS models to date, no one expected it to be this good. The car received rave reviews from all corners in 2016 (including ours) and has set the benchmark for all hot hatches in the future. It may be a bit unforgiving when driven in the daily commute but once that road opens up you’ll be reassured as to why you were put on this Earth – to drive. Fast. A 2.3-litre turbo four delivers 345hp and 470Nm of torque to all four wheels, allowing you to do away with the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.7s. Now if only the police would stop looking in its direction…
A wolf in electric sheep’s clothing. That’s one way to describe the world’s fastest production electric car to date. As the brainchild of Elon Musk, the Model S is a car like no other. For starters you get all of the available torque from standstill, such is the way of electric motors. That means a whopping 568kW and 967Nm of torque from 0 rpm split between the front electric motor (193kW) and rear motor (375kW) to deliver proper AWD traction. Insanity on wheels? Perhaps. It’s also unassuming to the untrained eye as well and it can do over 500km before needing a domestic powerpoint.
Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
Exclusivity is a major drawcard of owning a Ferrari. Needless to say, the Maranello outfit’s latest open-top effort based on a modern classic is already sold out before its debut. Then again that’s just the nature of a prized LaFerrari model. The hardtop version took the battle to Porsche and McLaren in 2015 in the hypercar stakes and in 2016 it returned briefly for those who’d prefer to do without a roof. Only 209 samples of the LaFerrari Aperta have been built with 200 going to ‘regular’ customers and the remaining 9 staying with Ferrari for event duties during 2017 in preparation for its 70th anniversary.
The cost to call an Aperta your own? US$2,000,000. A closer look at the car reveals a removable carbon-fibre hard top and a removable soft top whilst everything else in the running department is the same as a standard LaFerrari – 6.3-litre V12 with KERS technology bringing total power up to 949hp and 900Nm of torque.
2017 Nismo GT-R
It’s hard to believe that the current generation Nissan GT-R is now in its 7th year of production with every iteration getting faster than its preceding model. 2017 will be no different with the rowdiest of the GT-R crop, the Nismo variant, confirmed to land on Australian shores. Unveiled in mid-2016, the car like most on this list was developed on the famed Nurburgring. In its current Nismo guise the car’s 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 affords 600hp and is mated to Nissan’s intelligent AWD system alongside a body which replaces steel for carbon. Given its continual evolution over the years, 0-100km/h in 2.5s sounds about right.