2017 Cars of the Year [COTY 2017]... A Singapore Story

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Who says there can only be One? Singapore-style Cars of 2017

So I was having a quick think about fruits the other day: durians, kiwifruit, oranges, nangka and jambu, i love’em all, and a lot more besides. And equally too at that, so I wouldn’t think it fit to compare the different fruits to crown one ‘king’, well, notwithstanding the fact that durian is often referred to as such, but that’s a whole’nother story... You can probably draw the same analogy with food – it’s all good from hawker fare to haute cuisine, and I’ll gladly gobble down Prawn Mee alongside Michelin porn, and see no contradiction in lovin’em both.

If you see where we’re going with this, you’ll be able to better appreciate what we’re doing with this Singapore-style Cars of the Year, and no, the ‘s’ isn’t a typo. So no, there isn’t a single winner to rule them all, nor are they arranged in any specific order of greatness.

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Why not? Wouldn’t that just be comparing apples to oranges to durians? Of course, you can split hairs and give awards to the prickliest durian or the reddest apple or the juiciest orange. However, it starts to get ridiculous when you create awards to stick fruits into, and we all know there’s no good ending when you start sticking fruits into places they don’t belong...

In uninspiring years, we had as few as five Cars of the Year, and good years see up to nine. How do we arrive at the list? No votes, no limits, no categories, and it certainly isn’t something a brand can buy into. So who won? They all did!

In alphabetical order, our list for the 2017 Cars of the Year (click the model name to link directly to the respective article):

1) BMW M760Li xDrive
2) Honda FK8 Civic Type R
3) Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400
4) Land Rover Discovery 5
5) Lexus LC 500
6) McLaren 720S
7) Porsche 911 GT3

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I’ve distilled the essence of my Cars of the Year to that “Eureka!” moment of epiphany that hits when you’re driving something special. Despite what some people (mistakenly) believe, it’s never about the price-tag. Neither is it about outright speed or abstract performance figures alone – rather it is that emotional high that comes from a truly engaging drive.

For instance, the 720S first took my breath away when I was dive-bombing squirrels and other woodland critters as I attacked B-road corners with gusto in the UK. Putting more mileage on the McLaren only served to demonstrate how down-to-earth it could be, even if its looks and performance were out of this world.


Pre-unveiling set-up of the 7 Cars of the Year

In the Disco 5, the moment hit me when I was staring almost straight up into the clear blue skies above Utah as the behemoth scrabbled (and I blanched) its way up a slippery rock wall that we had to clear before checking into the Amangiri resort. Considering how some brands regard anything unpaved as “off-road”, it’s heartening to see that Land Rover still puts its money where its mouth is.

In the GT3, it was the last 2000rpm push from 7000 to a screaming 9000rpm that gave us the heebie-jeebies, and the car is perfect in both the 6spd manual and 7spd PDK. Porsche’s nat-asp 4.0-litre is an engineering wonder, especially since legislation is taking the joy out of such machines.

We grew up with the best of Honda’s JDM nat-asp Type Rs, and didn’t think a turbo would do it any favours. The FK8 sees a return to a proper multi-link rear suspension and single-mass flywheel, and in spite of the tsunami of low to mid-range torque, remains as fast and as furious to drive as its predecessors.

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Naturally, there have been similar ‘lightbulb’ moments with the remaining three Cars of the Year, but I must admit that finding that special something gets harder each year.

PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals

David Khoo
Author: David Khoo
David is a big petrolhead who has been dabbling in the car trade since 2001 and currently oversees Top Gear Singapore. His stories often take an eclectic slant from the predictable, and he's able to craft a compelling read that lets you see the cars (often old!) in a new light.