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Five chic new motors that impressed in Paris

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 3:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 10:37pm

Hong Kong car enthusiasts might watch for two Ferraris that stole the Paris motor show this week. The marque insists its 6.2-litre, 800-horsepower hybrid LaFerrari Aperta is sold out, but the limited-run convertible can be expected in Asia’s “Capital of Cars” soon, especially as Ferrari turns 70 next year. Ferrari also launched the 610hp GTC4Lusso T, its first V8 full four-seater, and then revealed a bigger surprise for Hongkongers when local dealer Auto Italia said last week that it would unveil the tourer’s bigger brother, the V12 GTC4Lusso “in mid-October, after the Paris Motor Show”.

The 6.2-litre, 690hp V12, launched this year in Geneva, tonnes in 3.5 seconds and tops at 335km/h. Its main features include the new Ferrari-patented 4RM-S handling and stability system, improved aerodynamics, a more efficient climate-control system, softer armrests and larger storage compartments. The V12 and new V8 have the same exterior and their prices will be announced soon, Auto Italia said this week.

The smaller GTC4Lusso T, with its 3.9-litre engine, is also rear-wheel-drive with four-wheel steering, and reaches 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of about 320km/h. The GTC4Lusso cars are packed with the marque’s latest combustion efficiency, torque delivery and infotainment

electronics, Ferrari says, but they are also more front-passenger friendly, with more communal controls on the central console. Ferrari calls this devolution of driver-centricity “Dual Cockpit architecture” and says it is designed to “enhance the shared driving experience for both driver and passenger”. This arrangement might also save arguments on the road - allowing the passenger to focus on her map-reading, and the driver to just do as he’s told.

The new Land Rover Discovery impressed Parisians and could be in Hong Kong by the end of March, according to local dealer British Motors. Fitted with “class-leading all-terrain capability”, should you need it in Shouson Hill, the fifth-generation Discovery is designed to “establish new standards for the Discovery family”. Its seven seats are all adult sized - unlike other SUVs’ “5+2” format - and can be configured on a smartphone. The 4.97-metre Discovery has 2,406 litres of luggage space with “clever storage for 21st-century family essentials”, including a secret spot for four iPads, the marque says. Its Millennial-friendly connectivity ranges from a Spotify app and six 12-volt charging points, to nine USB ports and “an in-car 3G WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices”, Land Rover adds. Such fittings could leave passengers to their own devices, but some Hong Kong parents might soon wish their teenagers talked to them more often on trips.

The new Audi Q5 looks an impressive update of the marque’s best-seller and a natural choice for the Sai Kung smart set. The 4.66m quattro Q5 is slightly bigger than its predecessor, and comes with a 610-litre boot that can be extended to 1,550l. Its power-operated tailgate offers hands-free opening, and the body can be lowered for loading. Audi improves the Q5’s connectivity with a “virtual cockpit” option, in which a high-resolution 12.3-inch screen can show traditional dashboard clocks or more colourful maps, lists and graphics. There is also a new Audi tablet for the back seat, and an 8.3-inch touchscreen with handwriting-recognition and zoom capabilities. A steering-wheel-control option offers head-up display on the windscreen. The car can also connect to a WiFi hotspot or a smartwatch via an app, and enable passengers to use up to eight mobile devices online.

Alfa Romeo’s stunning new Giulia Veloce in Blue Misano livery will be keenly awaited here. Hong Kong’s Alfa scene is already warming, with dealer Swire Motors aiming to launch the new Giulietta and new Giulia in 2017. A token Giulia Veloce could make local Alfistis’ year, as the Veloce has denoted a sportier Giulia since 1956. There are two versions of the latest model, both with a five-star European crash-test rating: a 280hp, two-litre Turbo petrol variant that produces 400Nm of torque at 2,250rpm; and a 210hp, 2.2-litre diesel model that belts 470Nm at 1,750rpm. Both variants have an eight-speed automatic transmission and “the unprecedented Q4 all-wheel drive” in 19-inch wheels, the marque says.

Mercedes-AMG’s AMG GT R looked to be the “Car of 2016” in June. Now the marque says it is “blowing even more fresh air into the AMG GT family” with two new rear-wheel-drive variants: the 557hp AMG GT C Roadster on 20-inch wheels, and the 476hp Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster, on 19-inchers. These AMG Panamericana-grilled variants could soon be the most exclusive convertibles in China, as they seem to be fitted with the best and latest of everything. Both have 3.9-litre V8s with twin turbochargers and direct injection, and belt 680Nm and 630Nm respectively. Luxuriously finished and fitted with the AMG performance exhaust system, the models respectively tonne in 3.7 seconds and four seconds, and top at 316km/h and 302km/h via an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The roof drops in about 11 seconds.