8 Underground [COTY2020] : Top Gear Singapore's Cars of the Year – Singapore-Style

By davidkhoo, 11 February 2021
Photo: Zotiq Visuals
Photo: Zotiq Visuals

Singapore - Believe it or not, our ‘Cars of the Year – Singapore-Style’ awards is closing in on its ten-year milestone.

Yes, that’s how long we’ve been beating this ‘(car) meet’, and I daresay we’re the first automotive title in Singapore to have done away with tiresome people’s choices, complicated voting systems and convoluted categories… or at the very least, persisted with it for such a long time!

(Our full list of 2020's Star Cars is at the bottom of the page!)

Our use of the word ‘Cars’ isn’t a typo, because to my mind, it boggles the mind that some see fit to pick a single car as winner – in the average ‘COTY’ feature story we’ve seen in Singapore, it’s seldom apples to apples… if at all. 

And on the topic of fruit, I enjoy durian, chempedak and mangosteen equally for different reasons, just as I do nasi lemak, chye tow kway and chicken rice.

On my bedside table sits a heap of books that spans biographies, sci-fi novels, Sandman trade paperbacks and the odd Geronimo Stilton, and depending on my mood, I’m lulled to sleep with a playlist that ranges from classical to death metal, with 邓丽君 in the middle.

Don’t ask me which is best, because they’re all good at different times to suit my different moods.

And that’s where we are for our ‘Cars of the Year – Singapore-Style’: on the surface, it seems like a game of ‘fantasy garage’, until you consider the fact that we know of petrolheads who are in a position to acquire some, or even all of the cars.

It’s all about indulging in the 50 shades of grey and having ample choices to suit the different moods and needs, as opposed to black and white absolutes that restrict a person to just one car for all needs.

So, how do we arrive at our choices every year? Well, the cars must be available for sale, or at the very least, closed-door previewed in Singapore in the qualifying year.

Naturally, we must also have driven them, so there’s some basis for them to be considered other than just being the ‘newest new’ in town.

This ‘dream garage’ isn’t a fixed number either – in years where stand-out cars were thin on the ground, we’ve seen the list dwindle to just five cars.

This next bit may come as some surprise: price is seldom a consideration, nor is outright performance, since there’s more to attaining petrolhead nirvana than straight-line speed or big horsepower figures.

From the location, to jockeying the cars and supporting the photos/videos, the logistics behind putting together this annual feature is close to a herculean effort. However, it’s all made possible by friends and the team, and it’s all worth it.

Why? Because these cars in our annual list help reignite our passion for automotive journalism and we like how our selection offers an array as diverse as an international buffet spread.

But, how do we tell a car is special? Some of the main triggers for me include the intense reluctance of returning the keys to the minder, the involuntary last-look-back, and of course, the instinctive clench and trickle of cold sweat as we recall the thrill of skirting around the car’s dynamic limits.

We’ll cover the individual cars in more depth in the following pages, so in alphabetical order, here are our 2020 Cars of the Year (click on car model to jump to their individual stories):

1) Audi RS 6 Avant

2) BMW M2 CS

3) Ferrari Roma

4) Land Rover Defender 110

5) Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake

6) McLaren GT

7) MINI Cooper SE

8) Porsche Taycan 4 S

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