Up close with stunners that are set to scorch Hong Kong roads soon

New vehicles at Los Angeles auto show promise more in terms of speed, luxury, space and other amenities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 9:57pm

Among the new models revealed at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show were five stunners that well-off Hongkongers may well be keen to get their hands on when they are launched in the city.

Porsche launched two long-distance cars at the 10-day show, which closed on November 27. The flat-six, 510hp 911 RSR stole the bloglight as the marque’s latest GT endurance racer for Le Mans. However, the Porsche Panamera Executive models offer cross-border bosses new fast-lane luxury, and they are due here in the second or third quarter of 2017, according to Porsche Centre Hong Kong and Macau spokeswoman Jess Lam.

Built 155mm longer, and with more rear-seat stretch than the Gran Turismo models, the Panamera Executives have more standard extras, such as a panoramic roof, more comfortable seats and rear roll-up blinds. Its cabin seems built for tycoons, with more antenna and smartphone connections, and a large rear centre console that can integrate two folding tables. The Executives also get the latest Porsche Rear Seat Entertainment, with 10.1-inch front-seat-backrest displays that can be detached and used as rear-seat or outdoor tablets.

The 550hp Panamera Turbo Executive (HK$2.946 million) tops the range and is also fitted with four-zone air-conditioning system, LED main headlights and ambient lighting. The 440hp Panamera 4S Executive (HK$2.073 million) also has rear-axle steering, a reversing camera and soft-close doors. The marque also produces the 462hp Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive (HK$1.908 million); and the three-litre, 330hp V6 Porsche Panamera 4 Executive (HK$1.653 million).

The dealer will also launch the new Panamera 4S and Turbo in the first quarter of 2017, Lam says.

Watch out, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, because the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet was probably the show’s most beautiful car. The six-litre bi-turbo V12’s production has been limited to 300 units, and each is numbered with a polished, chrome-plated plaque “to highlight the level of exclusivity”, the marque says. Offered for 300,000 (HK$2.47 million) in Europe, where deliveries are expected to start next spring, the 630hp open-top four seater features the marque’s best of everything on 20-inch wheels. All of the optional extras of the S-Class Cabriolet come as standard on the Mercedes-Maybach, including Swarovski crystal headlamps, the AIRCAP wind deflector, and AIRSCARF neck-level heating system in its seats, the marque says. Luggage can also be “colour-coordinated to match the interior ... and strapped together to make the best use of boot space”, the marque adds.

The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio won the Cars.com website’s “best of show” award. The premium mid-sized SUV is expected to be launched in 2018 and sold in three models, all with a carbon-fibre and aluminium body, an eight-speed automatic transmission and Alfa’s Q4 four-wheel drive. The basic Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models appear to be the most suitable for Hong Kong, with an aluminium, two-litre, direct-injection turbocharged engine with “class-leading” 280 horsepower and 414Nm of torque for 100km/k in about 5.4 seconds.

The range-topping Stelvio Quadrifoglio could disrupt the top end of Hong Kong’s crowded luxury SUV scene as it’s competitively styled and quick. Its 505hp, 2.9-litre biturbo V6 is expected to hot 100km/h in under four seconds, top at 283km/h and stop on carbon ceramic brakes. The range’s safety looks impressive, with blind-spot, adaptive cruise, autonomous collision warning and braking controls. Named after an Italian mountain pass, the Stelvio could be a nimble paddle shift in the New Territories.

Also on show was the new Mini Countryman, which is expected to be launched in Europe in February, and beyond in March 2017. Hongkongers might like its chunkier size, as it is 20cm longer and more spacious than its predecessor, and with higher seating for five people. The latest Countryman starts with the three-cylinder, 136hp model, with a four-cylinder; a 192hp, two-litre S model; and a similarly sized diesel variant. All have six-speed manual and Steptronic transmission with the option of eight-speed gearboxes in the two-litre versions.

However, Hongkongers might prefer Mini’s first hybrid version, the Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4, with the range-wide ALL4 all-wheel-drive option. This hybrid combines the three-cylinder petrol engine with an 88hp electric motor that promises a range of 40km. Its fuel consumption is an impressive 2.1 litres per 100km for 49g/km of carbon dioxides, the marque adds. The latest Countryman’s new equipment features daytime driving lights around each headlamp; a new touchscreen function for the 8.8-inch colour display’s navigation system; and Mini Country Timer, which the company says registers travel over challenging terrain. A fold-out Mini picnic turns the luggage compartment’s loading sill into “a comfortable seat for outdoor breaks”, while Mini Find Mate enables drivers to locate Bluetooth-tagged bags, keys and other accessories. The car also offers cloud connections to Apple iPhone and Apple Watch, Mini says.

The latest Mazda CX-5 SUV is eyecatching in its new “Soul Red Crystal” paintwork. The compact showcases the Japanese carmaker’s latest SKYACTIV Technology in two-litre and 2.5-litre petrol engines and a 2.2-litre diesel, all with G-Vectoring Control. The CX-5 also has windscreen head-up display and a remote-control for the rear hatch. Sales in Japan are expected to start in February and the first models could be in Hong Kong soon afterwards.