First look: Nearly 50 new cars debuting here in 2015

Volkswagen’s Golf Sportsvan, Passat and Beetle Cabriolet (above). -- PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen’s Golf Sportsvan, Passat and Beetle Cabriolet (above). -- PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen’s Golf Sportsvan, Passat (above) and Beetle Cabriolet. -- PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen’s Golf Sportsvan, Passat (above) and Beetle Cabriolet. -- PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen’s Golf Sportsvan (above), Passatand Beetle Cabriolet. -- PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen’s Golf Sportsvan (above), Passatand Beetle Cabriolet. -- PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Toyota's Camry (left) and Prius C (above).
Toyota's Camry (left) and Prius C (above).PHOTOS: PEUGEOT, TOYOTA, VOLKSWAGEN, SUZUKI, SUBARU, VOLVO
Toyota's Camry (left) and Prius C (above).
Toyota's Camry (left) and Prius C (above).PHOTOS: PEUGEOT, TOYOTA, VOLKSWAGEN, SUZUKI, SUBARU, VOLVO
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).PHOTOS: KIA, HONDA, HYUNDAI, JAGUAR, JEEP, LAND ROVER, LEXUS, LOTUS, MAZDA, MERCEDES-BENZ, MG, MINI,
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).PHOTOS: KIA, HONDA, HYUNDAI, JAGUAR, JEEP, LAND ROVER, LEXUS, LOTUS, MAZDA, MERCEDES-BENZ, MG, MINI,
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).PHOTOS: KIA, HONDA, HYUNDAI, JAGUAR, JEEP, LAND ROVER, LEXUS, LOTUS, MAZDA, MERCEDES-BENZ, MG, MINI,
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).PHOTOS: KIA, HONDA, HYUNDAI, JAGUAR, JEEP, LAND ROVER, LEXUS, LOTUS, MAZDA, MERCEDES-BENZ, MG, MINI,
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).
Land Rover's Discovery Sport (above) and Lexus' RC F (top) and NX200t (main picture). Kia's Rio (above) and Sorento (right).PHOTOS: KIA, HONDA, HYUNDAI, JAGUAR, JEEP, LAND ROVER, LEXUS, LOTUS, MAZDA, MERCEDES-BENZ, MG, MINI,
Ford’s Mustang (above), S-Max and Mondeo. -- PHOTO: FORD
Ford’s Mustang (above), S-Max and Mondeo. -- PHOTO: FORD
Ford’s Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo (above). -- PHOTO: FORD
Ford’s Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo (above). -- PHOTO: FORD
Ford’s Mustang, S-Max (above) and Mondeo. -- PHOTO: FORD
Ford’s Mustang, S-Max (above) and Mondeo. -- PHOTO: FORD
BMW's (clockwise from far left) X6M, X5M, 2 Series Convertible and X6. Ford's (clockwise from top) Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo.
BMW's (clockwise from far left) X6M, X5M, 2 Series Convertible and X6. Ford's (clockwise from top) Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo.PHOTOS: FORD, BMW, CITROEN, CHRYSLER
BMW's (clockwise from far left) X6M, X5M, 2 Series Convertible and X6. Ford's (clockwise from top) Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo.
BMW's (clockwise from far left) X6M, X5M, 2 Series Convertible and X6. Ford's (clockwise from top) Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo.PHOTOS: FORD, BMW, CITROEN, CHRYSLER
BMW's (clockwise from far left) X6M, X5M, 2 Series Convertible and X6. Ford's (clockwise from top) Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo.
BMW's (clockwise from far left) X6M, X5M, 2 Series Convertible and X6. Ford's (clockwise from top) Mustang, S-Max and Mondeo.PHOTOS: FORD, BMW, CITROEN, CHRYSLER
Audi’s TT Coupe and Q7 (above). -- PHOTO: AUDI
Audi’s TT Coupe and Q7 (above). -- PHOTO: AUDI
Audi’s TT Coupe (above) and Q7. -- PHOTO: AUDI
Audi’s TT Coupe (above) and Q7. -- PHOTO: AUDI
Audi’s TT Roadster (above). -- PHOTO: AUDI
Audi’s TT Roadster (above). -- PHOTO: AUDI
Audi's TT Coupe (top) and Q7 (above). Audi's TT Roadster (right). Bentley's Mulsanne Speed can go from zero to 100kmh in 4.9 seconds.
Audi's TT Coupe (top) and Q7 (above). Audi's TT Roadster (right). Bentley's Mulsanne Speed can go from zero to 100kmh in 4.9 seconds.PHOTOS: AUDI, BENTLEY, ALFA ROMEO, ASTON MARTIN

With nearly 50 new cars making their debuts this year, car lovers in Singapore will be spoilt for choice

Singapore is one of the smallest new-car markets in the world, with fewer than 30,000 registrations last year and a little more than 22,000 in 2013.

Even so, more than 50 new passenger car models (including mid-life updates) were introduced here last year.

Some were so new, such as BMW's M3/M4, that Singapore was one of the first right-hand-drive countries to receive them.

In 2015, Singaporeans will again be among the first people in Asia to see - or take delivery of - certain newcomers.

For 2015, car lovers can expect to see another 50-odd debutantes, a few of which will be making their local debut this month at the Singapore Motorshow in Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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ALFA ROMEO

Giulietta QV 

The QV (Quadrifoglio Verde or "four-leaf clover") version of the stylish Giulietta five-door hatchback has the same drivetrain as the 4C coupe, which arrived recently.

With a turbocharged 1.7-litre four-cylinder that puts 240bhp and 300Nm to the tarmac through a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the Giulietta QV accelerates from a standstill to 100kmh in six seconds flat and reaches a top speed of 244kmh.

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ASTON MARTIN

Rapide S

The four-door speed cruiser from England now comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission (from a six-speeder previously), which is hooked up to an updated 5.9-litre V12 engine that produces a bit more power (plus 2bhp to 552bhp) and a little more torque (plus 10Nm to 630Nm). The Aston's suspension and brakes have also been improved.

AUDI

TT and TTS Coupes

The third generation of Audi's signature sportster for boyracers and fashionistas alike has evolved logically in design, engineering and performance.

New features include an all-digital instrument cluster and ingeniously integrated air-conditioning controls.

Both the TT and TTS are 2-litre six-speed turbo bombshells, but the latter has a higher engine output (310bhp/380Nm versus the TT's 230bhp/370Nm) and correspondingly quicker pick-up.

TT and TTS Roadsters

The pair of new German coupes will go alfresco in Singapore a few months after their local launch. The two Roadsters' fabric roof is an electronically actuated affair that is not only 3kg lighter than the previous hood system, but it is also better insulated against noise and weather. Available in black, beige or grey, it takes 10 seconds to open or close, on the move at speeds of up to 50kmh.

Q7

Audi's seven-seater sport utility vehicle has lost weight (some 325kg) and gained practicality. The new Q7 has a marginally less gigantic exterior, but it is roomier than the old model and comprehensively equipped.

Premium amenities include deluxe air- conditioning, an array of driving aids, seven-mode adaptive air suspension, state-of-the-art infotainment and Audi's own 10.1-inch multimedia tablets for two rear passengers.


BENTLEY

Mulsanne Speed

Towkays (and their chauffeurs) who feel the need for speed will enjoy this British limousine. Its 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 now punches out even more power and torque - 530bhp and a monumental 1,100Nm. The 2.6-tonne saloon dashes to 100kmh in 4.9 seconds and can hit 305kmh.

Despite its blistering performance, the Mulsanne Speed still pampers its occupants like an exquisite drawing room on 21-inch wheels.

BMW

X6

BMW's Sports Activity Coupe returns to Singapore as a second-generation crossover. While its silhouette looks familiar, every exterior panel has been changed. Essentially, the X6 is a rebodied X5 with more character, less practicality and a bigger price tag.

X5M and X6M

These sport utility vehicles re-emphasise the "sport" aspect with their huge power and high performance, generated by a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8. Hooked up to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission, these all-wheel-drive 575bhp/750Nm monsters accelerate from zero to 100kmh in a scorching 4.2 seconds.

2 Series Convertible

The successor to the 1 Series Convertible is sexier, bigger and roomier. Other upgrades include a stiffer body, a more user-friendly wind deflector and easier access to the back seats. The 220i is a quick performer with a century sprint timing of 7.5 seconds, but the electronically operated soft-top is not so quick, taking 20 seconds to retract or deploy.


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CHRYSLER

300C

The hip-hop American alternative to German luxury saloons will come to Singapore as a 2015 model, with 3.6-litre V6 power and a rotary gear selector (plus optional die- cast paddle-shifters) for the eight-speed automatic. New features include plush leather upholstery, hand-sanded wood trim, a full-colour multi-operation touchscreen (in either 7-inch or 8.4-inch size) and more than 80 safety features. The external appearance is "large" and brash, with a bold new grille, chrome highlights and fender-filling 20-inch alloy wheels.

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CITROEN

C4 Cactus

The French automaker's rediscovery of its Gallic flair continues with the C4 Cactus, the bohemian cousin of the trendy DS4. The Cactus' innovations include Airbump anti-ding capsules on the doors, a ceiling- mounted airbag for the front passenger and a seven-inch dashboard device that controls all the main vehicle functions. There are also storage compartments aplenty and sofa-inspired front seats.


FORD

Mustang

Finally available in right-hand-drive, Ford's pony coupe is expected to gallop to Singapore by the end of the year. There are two engine options for the new-generation Mustang: a beefy 5-litre V8 and a relatively skinny 2.3-litre turbo inline-four.

The 435bhp/542Nm eight-cylinder is a Big Mac and the 310bhp/433Nm four-cylinder is a packet of French fries, but both have hardworking ponies that provide donkey-proof sporty performance.

Mondeo

One of the most multinational mid-size cars in the business, the newcomer has American "Blue Oval" badges, German handling, Italian styling and Japanese-like ergonomics. And it is made in Spain. Ford supplies a lot of Mondeo for the money, with numerous features such as adaptive LED headlights, a 10-inch digital-analogue instrument display, multi-function connectivity, highly effective climate control and "hands-free" parking assistance.

S-Max

One of the most fun-to-drive MPVs in recent years will return to satisfy family men behind the wheel. Available as a five- or seven-seater, the new people-mover is powered by a 2-litre Ecoboost engine with 240bhp put through a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch gearbox. With 32 interior configurations and the comforts of a mobile home, the S-Max promises to be a family car par excellence.


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HONDA

HR-V

This SUV offshoot of the Jazz hatchback is a good-looking vehicle aimed at a younger, groovier demographic than the CR-V. The HR-V is compact on the outside, yet roomy on the inside, with easily adaptable "Magic Seats" that give class-leading versatility. Well equipped and well built, the new Honda crossover will compete against the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke and Subaru XV.

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Mobilio

Honda's direct rival to the Toyota Avanza follows the same basic formula of "seven seats, cheap and good, made in Thailand", but it looks more interesting, especially in bodykitted RS specification. The Mobilio sits on the same platform as the Brio (a low-budget runabout for South-east Asia), which has been stretched to accommodate three rows of seats.


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HYUNDAI

Sonata

This is not a Comfort taxi. The latest Sonata is a comfortable 2-litre private car for folks upgrading from the Elantra segment who want a big saloon that offers big value for money. Hyundai's equivalent of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Teana and Honda Accord tries to beat them at their own game, while its design is a road-going dose of Korean drama.


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JAGUAR

XE

Slotting below the current XF in the Jaguar model range, the XE is a sports saloon that targets the BMW 3 Series.

The British manufacturer claims that its newest "cat" is the lightest, stiffest and most aerodynamic it has ever created. The XE's excellent attributes include an intuitive infotainment system, sophisticated safety technology and a spacious, luxurious cabin. The engine line-up, called Ingenium, starts with a turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder, fuelled by petrol or diesel.

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JEEP

Renegade

Not confirmed for Singapore yet, but this Fiat Punto-based junior Jeep will certainly appeal to suburbanites who want something cute yet rugged. It has a cheeky exterior and a funky yet functional interior with removable roof panels.


KIA

Sorento

This new SUV can be specified as a five- or seven-seater. In either set-up, the Sorento boasts more space and soft-touch materials than before, a smoother ride and better handling.

Rio

The name of Kia's entry-level vehicle for Singapore comes from the past, but everything else about the five-door hatchback is up-to-date, such as its attractive styling with bright colours and its practical interior with decent equipment. The new Rio is likely to sport a value-packed price tag.


LAND ROVER

Discovery Sport

As the first member of an all-new model range that replaces both the Freelander 2 and the Discovery 4, this newly launched Land Rover will be crucial to the success of the British 4x4 marque in Singapore.

The selling points of this truly multi-purpose motoring machine are its all-terrain capability, all-purpose interior flexibility and natural appetite for vehicular adventure in the middle of nowhere.

LEXUS

RC F and RC350

The sleek Japanese coupe makes its maiden appearance here in fast-flagship form, with a thunderous 5-litre V8 and a serious set of performance figures. The softer, slower option will be the 3.5-litre V6 RC350, which is still spirited enough to appease the executive in a hurry.

NX200t

Lexus' eye-catching crossover gains turbo oomph with this variant, whose 2-litre engine develops a healthy 235bhp and 350Nm, and delivers strong and smooth performance through a six-speed auto gearbox.

The NX200t is out to tackle the turbocharged continental brigade that has the Audi Q3, BMW X3, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC60 in its ranks.

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LOTUS

Exige S automatic

The hardcore Exige S will become less hard to drive with the newly offered six- speed automatic option. Lotus claims that the paddle-shift system has been specifically tailored for the racy supercharged coupe that hugs the ground. In fact, the auto Exige S is said to be even quicker than the manual model around the Hethel test track in England.


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MAZDA

2

Mazda's new number is a stylish small car meant for city-driving.

Even though it looks like a shrunken 3 hatchback from some angles, the 2 has its own design personality, with cheerful body colours to boot.

The interior is as appealing as the exterior, thanks to the classy upholstery, executive-level equipment and made-in- Japan quality.

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CX-3

The popular CX-5 now has a smaller, curvier and cheaper sibling.

Derived from the 2 supermini, the CX-3 is a chunky pocket- size crossover that will explore the same patches of concrete jungle as the Honda HR-V.


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MERCEDES-BENZ

AMG GT

This stunning powerhouse coupe has a hand-built 4-litre biturbo V8 that pumps 462bhp/600Nm (standard version) or 510bhp/650Nm (S version) to the rear axle through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Acceleration to 100kmh takes four seconds flat in the GT and 3.8 seconds in the GT S, and both cars can easily exceed 300kmh. Searing performance aside, the new-age AMG "hammer" also has a luxuriously trimmed two-seat cockpit and a 350-litre boot beneath the tailgate.

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C63 AMG

With a twin-turbo 4-litre V8 powerplant closely related to the one in the GT, this purposeful saloon is a guaranteed thrill ride.

With either 476bhp or 510bhp, three-stage sports suspension, a mechanical rear locking differential and a composite braking system, the C63 is the fastest and most dynamic C-Class by far.

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S-Class Coupe

Germany's grandest of grand tourers is also touted to be the world's quietest. At the top of the options list for the handsome S-Class Coupe are headlamps featuring Swarovski crystals.

The on-board luxuries and advanced technologies of the two-door flagship notchback are shared with the S-Class saloon, so the towkay and his companion will be motoring in First Class.

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MG

MG3 and MG6

The 1.3-litre MG3 supermini and 1.8-litre MG6 saloon/fastback are the two newcomers that will reintroduce the MG brand to Singapore.

Co-produced in Thailand by China's biggest automaker, SAIC Motor, these modern MGs are neatly styled and adequately equipped.

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MINI

Cooper S John Cooper Works

Right on cue, Mini has given its third- generation Cooper S the John Cooper Works (JCW) treatment. Compared with the previous 1.6-litre JCW pocket rocket, the latest 2-litre model has 10 per cent more horsepower (231bhp) and 23 per cent more torque (320Nm), yet it is also less thirsty.

With a century sprint timing of 6.1 seconds (automatic six-speeder), the new Cooper S JCW is the quickest car in today's Mini range.


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NISSAN

Qashqai 1.2

Nissan's practical crossover treks into COE Category A with a 1.2-litre variant, whose turbocharged 115bhp four-cylinder motor is mated with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission.


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OPEL

Meriva

With its rear-hinged Flexdoors, versatile Flexspace seating, thoughtful Flexrail console storage and convenient Flex-Fix integrated bike carrier, the new Meriva is possibly one of the most flexible transporters for the typical Singaporean family.


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PEUGEOT

308

The French are pretty talented "Golf" players, and Peugeot's new number is ready to play the "Golf" game here.

The 308 has both style and substance, plus enhancements that include a snazzier infotainment unit and a tidier dashboard layout. The hatchback has also shed more than 100kg, which helps its overall performance and fuel efficiency.


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SUBARU

Outback

This is a no-nonsense, all-wheel-drive station wagon that combines the venture-everywhere ruggedness of an SUV with the everyday driveability of a conventional car such as Subaru's new Legacy, which also arrives this year.


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SUZUKI

Vitara

The "revived" Vitara is more compact than Suzuki's S-Cross, but has similar off-roading pretensions centred on good ground clearance and on-demand Allgrip four-wheel drive. The Vitara's new lifestyle slant includes the provision of accessories and different colour schemes for urbanites to personalise their "soft- roader".

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Ciaz

Singapore's affordable-saloon segment will be busier with the arrival of this thrifty Suzuki called Ciaz. The 1.4- litre car challenges the Toyota Vios, Honda City and Nissan Almera. Keyless entry/ignition, rear air-conditioning vents and personal reading lamps are some features that make the Ciaz a cheap and good proposition for the motorist on a tight budget.


TOYOTA

Camry

Heartlanders' favourite large Japanese saloon has been heavily updated for the new year, making it a lesser Lexus ES in all but name. The 2-litre Camry gets a six-speed automatic gearbox at last (to replace a dated four-speeder), a stronger yet more economical engine and a classier cabin with a redesigned dashboard. The conservative exterior has been tweaked to look slightly more assertive.

Prius C

Toyota's popular hybrid hatchback has got a facelift, but no mechanical changes have been made. The interior is nicer now, thanks to "premium materials" and "noise-vibration-harshness improvements".


VOLKSWAGEN

Beetle Cabriolet

The alfresco edition of the Beetle essentially does everything the Golf Cabriolet can do, but with more attitude and artistry. Chic frills include a choice of colours (black or beige) for the multi-layered fabric roof, a standard-fit rear spoiler and retro, chrome- plated alloy wheels.

Passat

Fully decked out with a raft of upscale gadgets, the latest-generation VW Passat is a mid-size saloon/ estate with upsized ambitions. It also offers ample interior space, an ultra-modern instrument cluster and top-notch build quality.

Golf Sportsvan

This five-seater MPV is for drivers whose transportation needs have outgrown their Golf, but they cannot wait for the Touran replacement. The "Sportsvan" tag might suggest sportiness, but this Golf spin-off is more about functionality, which is why its cabin is capacious and full of clever storage ideas.

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VOLVO

XC90

The original XC90 was introduced way back in 2002, but the long wait for this update might be worth it.

The second-generation XC90 boasts the most advanced safety features in its class and a roomy, lovely cabin with a tablet-like centre console and a crystal-glass gearlever. The new XC90's primary drivetrain for Singapore's market will be a turbocharged 2-litre four- cylinder with 320bhp, 400Nm, an eight- speed automatic and grippy all-wheel-drive.

stlife@sph.com.sg

The writer is the editor of Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.