Peak Performance

7 min read
Fancy a bit more oomph in your drive? These three models up the ante in adrenaline-pumping performance.

1. AUDI RS5 SPORTBACK

The RS range of cars from Audi has always pushed the envelope of performance. The RS5 Sportback is updated to provide many enhanced design elements and a brand-new operating concept.

The heart of the car — and its very essence — is under the hood, of course. The 2.9 TFSI engine continues to push out a heart-pumping 450PS and 600Nm of elephant-hauling torque. Twin turbochargers provide added power from the V6 engine, while the eight-speed tiptronic makes sure you get through the gears with speed and less effort through the enlarged aluminium shift paddles. There is an asymmetrical 40:60 power distribution between front and rear axle that serves to provide a sporty, rear-biased handling. The centre differential can be adjusted up to 70% of the force to the front, or 8% to the rear for even better handling.

With all this power available, the RS5 offers specially tuned RS Sport suspension. This can be adjusted according to your preference and driving style. In addition to the usual three modes of Comfort, Auto and Dynamic, there are two additional settings: RS1 and RS2. Audi drive select lets you customise these two settings with your preferred choices for the engine, tiptronic, steering, and optional components, such as damping (if equipped), dynamic steering, sport differential, and exhaust flaps.

The RS5 Sportback looks as good as it drives. The new Singleframe construction sits flatter and wider than the Audi A5, providing a sportier presence. The grille is in gloss black, and the air vents above it channel the classic Audi Sport quattro from 1984. Wheel arches that are flared an additional 15mm on each side further make references to quattro genetics.

Inside the cockpit, the RS5 Sportback boasts an all-new operating concept concentrated on a 10.1-inch MMI touch display. Based on Audi’s new third-generation modular infotainment platform, the display stands freely in its own space, slightly tilted to the driver, and is equipped with acoustic feedback. Smartphone users will find the user experience familiar. Natural-language capability helps the voice control understand your own unique accent as well.

The central display is also where the RS monitor provides info of the engine and transmission temperature, maximum longitudinal and lateral acceleration values on the central MMI display — just the type of information buyers of the RS5 Sportback would find useful.

Views of the car’s performance are made even clearer now with the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit. Here, the special RS displays items that include tyre pressure, torque, output, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, and g-forces. Luxuriant interiors of the RS design package come in black with rock grey seams, with the RS logo adorning key locations. Buyers in Singapore can also enjoy the fine Nappa leather seats with honeycomb pattern, providing the car with a sophistication that fits nicely with its aplomb.

PRICE  FROM $397,480 (WITH COE)
ENGINE  2,894CC V6 TFSI QUATTRO
TRANSMISSION  8-SPEED TIPTRONIC AUTOMATIC
POWER  450PS @ 5,700–6,700RPM
TORQUE  600NM @ 1,900–5,000RPM
0–100KM/H  3.9 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  AUDI CENTRE SINGAPORE (Tel: 6836 2223)

2. MERCEDES-AMG CLA 45 S 4MATIC+

The Mercedes-Benz CLA has come to be one of the most popular choices for buyers looking for a car from the Stuttgart automaker. The new AMG version takes it to another realm.

Mercedes-Benz claims that the new Mercedes-AMG CLA S has the most powerful four-cylinder “in the world”. And who are we to refute that? The car packs more than a punch with its 421hp and 500Nm stats, giving this model a performance far exceeding its size.

To match the engine with an invigorated drive, the Mercedes-AMG CLA comes, for the first time, with the all-new AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G transmission. This dual clutch transmission has a RACE Start function and motor racing gear changes, yet also offers an option that is comfortable enough to use for everyday driving. There are also four levels of adjustment for driving comfort that will take you from a leisurely Sunday drive to a hard workout around a racetrack. Whichever level you pick, the AMG Performance 4Matic all-time four-wheel-drive system with AMG Torque Control will keep you secure and confident as you travel along your route.

The AMG CLA has a distinct look compared to the CLA. The AMG-specific radiator grille is used here for the first time, and provides a wider, lower contour with the 12 vertical louvres showcasing its AMG DNA. The power domes on the aerodynamically shaped bonnet gives an imposing stance, accentuated by the wider front wings with flared wheel arches. The car comes with 19-inch AMG five twin-spoke wheels in matt black with shiny rim flange, as well as red brake callipers with black AMG lettering.

Driving the AMG CLA is made as comfortable as it is exhilarating with the AMG Performance seats with massage effect. All the features from the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system may be viewed on the 10.25-inch high-resolution instrument cluster with AMG-specific display design. In addition, the 10.25-inch central multimedia display offers touch-screen capability. MBUX boasts “Hey Mercedes” voice control, as well as an in-built navigation system. But if another software is preferred, the smartphone integration package allows for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Fine and subtle elements remind you that you’re in an AMG. The centre console is distinctively AMG, with integral control switches for manual transmission mode and three-stage ESP. Black open-pore linden wood trim, and door sill panels in brushed steel with AMG lettering further add to an ambience that is altogether exclusive and exciting.

PRICE  $314,888 (WITH COE)
ENGINE  1,991CC 4-CYLINDER INLINE AMG
TRANSMISSION  AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G
POWER  421HP @ 6,750RPM
TORQUE  500NM @ 5,000–5,250RPM
0–100KM/H  4.0 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  CYCLE & CARRIAGE MERCEDES-BENZ CENTRE (Tel: 6298 1818)

3. BMW M3 COMPETITION SEDAN

Okay, we may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves here as the M3 Competition won’t be launched and available for test drives in Singapore till March this year. But it’s never too early to receive good news!

The all-new BMW M3 Competition Sedan, built in the BMW Plant Munich, boasts a new 3.0-litre straight six-engine configuration. The unit pulls together the character of the BMW M GmbH engines with the latest iteration of M TwinPower Turbo technology. The twin turbo unit has indirect air cooling, a flow-optimised air intake system, and a petrol direct-injection system working with maximum pressure of 350 bar help to generate the engine’s instantaneous power delivery and appetite for revs, which it sustains without interruption into the higher reaches of the engine speed range.

What the M3 Competition can do on the road leaves little to be desired. With 650Nm of torque and a maximum output of 510hp, the four-door sedan has few similar competitors on the road that can match its performance. The acoustic sensation is equally impressive, with the exhaust system’s ‘soundtrack’ accentuating the engine’s high-revving inclination and linear power delivery. If it’s not to your liking, the electrically controlled, fully adjustable flaps suppress intrusive frequency to make it easier on the ears. What’s more, inside, changing from SPORT or SPORT + mode, or adjusting the M Sound Control button, also alters the timbre and intensity of the engine roar.

The BMW M3 Competition comes with eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic and rear-wheel drive. It enables both automatic and manual shifts, with sequential gear selection. Drivelogic is integrated into the selector lever, letting the driver access three clearly distinct set-ups in both automatic and manual mode: comfort oriented, sports focused, or track optimised.Inside, designers have designed a cockpit that is ergonomic and puts the focus totally on the driving experience. Newly developed M sport seats are electrically adjustable and come in Merino full leather. For those who enjoy a racing feel, the new M Carbon bucket seats with structured design is a highlighted option.The BMW M3 Competition is not only great to drive, but safe, too. Cutting-edge driver assistance systems that come with the car include Front Collision Warning, Park Distance Control with front and rear sensors, Lane Departure Warning, and Speed Limit info road sign detection. Parking Assistant Plus is standard with functions such as Surround View, Remote 3D View, and Reversing Assistant.

Visually, the car boasts BMW’s new design language spoken loudly through the newly enlarged kidney-shaped grille with hallmark vertical double bars. Wheel arches are powerfully sculpted and highlighted by M gills. M-specific exterior mirrors are in high-gloss black, allowing them to stand out. A rear spoiler and two pairs of exhaust tailpipes — now customary for M cars — are finished in Black Chrome.In Singapore, Adaptive LED Headlights with BMW Laserlight come standard, and colour options include the new and exclusive Sao Paulo Yellow non-metallic, Toronto Red metallic, and Isle of Man Green metallic.

PRICE  $447,888 (with COE)
ENGINE  2,993CC M TWINPOWER TURBO TECHNOLOGY
TRANSMISSION  M STEPTRONIC AUTOMATIC
POWER  510HP @ 6,250–7,200RPM
TORQUE  650NM @ 2,750–5,500RPM
0–100KM/H  3.9 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  PERFORMANCE MUNICH AUTOS (Tel: 1800 2255 269)

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