This year’s crop of new motors has been one of the best yet, with boredom-busting gadgets, eye-melting performance figures and styling that leaves jaws slack with amazement. It’s been so good, we thought we’d have a little celebration.
a seat, pop a bottle and crack out the party hats: this year's Car Awards are going to be exciting...
75% 4.0-litre V8 engine
10% Elongated bonnet
10% Mercedes SLS AMG
5% Soiled underpants
0-60mph: 3.8 secs
Top speed: 193mph
Mercedes is very good at everyday luxury, something it’s proven over and over again
as a purveyor of autobahn-ready saloons, dog-friendly estates and well-mannered hatchbacks for the discerning city dweller.
But it’s when Mercedes decides to let its
hair down that we really start enjoying ourselves.
Need proof? Take a look at the stunning AMG GT S, Mercedes’ range-topping road-racer.
So what’s so good about it? The mad scientists from AMG (Mercedes’ in-house
tuning arm) have twiddled with the 4.0-litre
V8 engine in this extra spicy S model – so
it produces a totally absurd 503bhp, meaning you can rocket from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds. If you really trust your sphincter,
you can easily tickle the 193mph mark.
And because this is a Mercedes-Benz,
you can still use it every day. The sexy but impractical gullwing doors of the SLS AMG
(this car’s older brother) have been replaced
by normal, er, doors and the interior packs
a sleek 8.4-inch colour display with the
German marque’s excellent always-connected Comand infotainment system.
Powerful enough to give Jaguar’s fire-breathing F-Type R a fright, stylish enough
to take on Audi’s mighty R8, and lithe enough around a demanding race circuit to give the Porsche 911 Turbo sleepless nights, this mad Mercedes easily deserves the title of FHM’s
Car of the Year.
70% Fiat 500
10% Anabolic steroids
10% Clean diet
0-60mph: 9.8 secs
Top speed: 118mph
The Fiat 500 is one of Italy's greatest exports, up there with pizza, red wines and Monica Bellucci. The 2008 reimagining symbolised everything
that was great about the ’50s version, namely being small enough to tackle the city but stylish enough to warrant admiring nods from car aficionados.
The 500X is a terrain-conquering version that comes complete with steroid-enhanced styling, pumped-up protective cladding and an optional four-wheel-drive system that sees the X transform into an off-road machine.
It's pretty neat inside, with heavy-duty door handles, quirky buttons and a chunky steering wheel making it seem manlier than a bare-chested Vladimir Putin on a bear-hunting expedition.
Fiat's new Uconnect system means tracks and playlists can be streamed directly from smartphones, while an optional Live version allows you to
stay in touch with the Twitter-verse.
90% Ridiculously awesome fun
9% Room for a small one
0-60mph: 8.3 secs
Top speed: 127mph
Be prepared to have the calm of the great British B-road shattered by the yowl of Mazda’s revised and angry 1.5-litre engine.
Yep: we just called Mazda’s latest MX-5 angry – because it bloody well is. The car’s been given a makeover and now packs piercing LED headlamps, razor-sharp creases along the flanks and an aggressive road presence that gives it the air of a mini Jag F-Type.
But forget the looks. What makes this a B-road thriller is the way it tackles Britain’s twistiest back roads. It doesn’t just drive them, it devours them.
At 100kg lighter than its predecessor, the new MX-5 has the same footprint as the tiny late-’80s original and is powered by a 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre engine. And it costs less than £20,000. Now, where’s that chequebook?
50% Fire-breathing monster
30% Impressing the in-laws
10% Grips like a vice
10% Transit van
0-62mph: 5.1 secs
Top speed: 155mph
The perfect mix of responsible driving and fun,
the Golf R Estate has you covered whether you’re nipping to Ikea or planning a trip to the continent.
The trusty 2.0-litre turbocharged engine has
been tuned so it develops nearly 300bhp, while
the all-wheel-drive layout means this family carriage can dash the 0-62mph sprint in a Porsche-baiting 5.1 seconds.
The estate-ification hasn’t done anything to ruin the Golf R’s sizzling looks either, with all models flashing chunky 18-inch alloys wheels (at no extra cost to you, sir) and boasting a sports suspension system that lowers the car by 20mm over the rest
of the Golf family.
And because it’s a family car, the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system offers unrivalled grip in all weather conditions, plus the brilliant DSG automatic gearbox is a doddle to master.
You’ll also be pleased to hear the interior is as practical as a pair of Gore-Tex hiking trousers, while the boot can happily swallow 1,620 litres of family junk when the rear seats are folded flat.
There’s simply no need to have a midlife crisis when the Golf R Estate exists.
50% Muscle car
40% Off-road mountain climber
10% Kray twins
0-62mph: 4.7 secs
Top speed: 162mph
We should really rename this category ‘Brutish’ Car Of The Year, because the pinnacle of the Range Rover line-up
is just a thug in gentleman’s trousers.
Despite its mammoth footprint, the Range Rover SVR can still blast to 62mph in just 4.7 seconds, using the same supercharged 5.0-litre V8 as the ridiculously awesome Jaguar F-Type R.
This also means it now boasts 543bhp – with an exhaust note that does to eardrums what Floyd Mayweather does to faces.
Inside, it’s typical Range Rover stuff, with plenty of hand-stitched leather surfaces giving it the air of a private gentleman’s club (no, not that kind).
It’s sheer drama when you want it,
a relaxing cruiser when needed, and an all-terrain conqueror when you run out of road. If 007 retired to a life in the country, he’d have one of these.
99% Rear spoiler
1% Sensible hatchback
0-60mph: 5.7 secs
Top speed: 167mph
There’s a plague that’s currently affecting the modern hot hatch, with symptoms including understated styling, dull interiors and synthesised exhaust notes piped into the cabin.
Thankfully, the Honda Civic Type R
is the remedy we’ve been waiting for. Delivering 306bhp, the turbocharged engine propels the latest Type R into the hyper-hatch stratosphere and will happily launch the car from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds – with a top speed of 167mph.
The insane exterior styling reflects this banzai approach to motoring, as it’s festooned with aerodynamic sections, gaping vents for cooling brakes and
a rear wing that will happily double up
as a dining table.
It’s not much different inside, with heaps of Gran Turismo-style digital readouts, a G-Force meter and polished aluminium surfaces. Very few cars can compete with this pocket rocket in
terms of sheer drama, and we salute it.