Top Gear’s Top 9: cars we want to test in Malaysia after the MCO
1. Aston Martin DBX
Gaydon’s first SUV could be the car to make or break James Bond’s favourite make. The pandemic situation may have slowed down Aston’s recovery plan involving the DBX, but a timely investment from new boss Lawrence Stroll suggests they’ll be up and running again in no time. A pre-production unit was actually previewed in Kuala Lumpur last November and order books have been open since with prices starting from RM798,000 before duties. We’re pretty hopeful of seeing one on Malaysian roads before the year ends, preferably with us at the wheel.
2. Bentley Flying Spur
The third-generation Flying Spur has been one of the greatest tease we’ve had to put up with at the TGM office. It all started with our British colleagues naming it Luxury Car of the Year (2019), followed by a glitzy preview in Singapore before this majestic machine made its bow locally at Bentley Kuala Lumpur, just a few steps away from where we had an early look at the DBX. Its base price of RM840,000 before taxes may be higher than the Aston’s, but it also has four cylinders more under the hood. And we’ve only had great things to say about Crewe’s W12 engine so far…
3. BMW X6 (G06)
BMW Malaysia surprised the motoring fraternity by launching not one, but two cars during the Movement Control Order (MCO), albeit virtually. Between the 840i Gran Coupe and the third-generation X6, we’re more inclined to try the latter simply for the audacity in its new pair of kidney grilles, which isn’t just larger than before but light up at night too! Then again, if you’re spending RM729,800 on an SUV that wants to be a sports car, it’s only natural to want all the attention you can get for the money, even if it’s in the cover of darkness.
4. Ferrari Roma
For the longest time, it did seem odd that Maranello’s most accessible front-engined V8 model was a convertible (first the California, followed by the Portofino), but Ferrari has finally developed a coupe twin of sorts, one named after the Italian capital no less. If priced and packaged properly, with sufficient distinction from the F8 Tributo and GTC4Lusso V8, the Roma could be the breadwinner for Ferrari, and subsequently for Naza Italia here in Malaysia. Even without such economic significance, we’re always eager to have a go at brand new Prancing Horses anyway.
5. Honda Accord
The current D-segment situation is pretty bizarre. While demand has tanked tremendously due to the surge of SUVs, the cars competing in this space have never been better. The Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat are properly solid rides and Honda Malaysia’s response is equally convincing with the tenth-generation Accord packing the nameplate’s most powerful but smallest engine to date. The 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo mill is a great way to cut road tax expenses, but we’re more interested in the 198 horses it produces. With a starting price of RM185,900, the new Accord is also the priciest CKD Honda on sale today. And we really want to know for sure if it’s a price worth paying.
6. Mercedes-AMG A45S
The A45 is arguably the hottest hatchback of its generation based on sheer power alone. Package the performance with the most accessible AMG price tag in Malaysia and it’s no wonder we see so many of them terrorising our roads. Its four-pot turbo is a genuine firecracker, and the upcoming W177 model has had this mill uprated even more to produce a mind-blowing 415bhp and 500Nm. That’s a specific output of over 200bhp per litre and 100bhp per cylinder! We’re still keeping our fingers crossed for Mercedes-Benz Malaysia to launch the A45S this year but until then, we’ll just have to make do with the A35 Sedan.
7. Nissan Almera
This is something Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) really needs right now. The current-gen Almera was a hit when it was first launched, but rivals Honda and Toyota have made the B-segment so competitive that the poor old Nissan has looked completely out of its depth in recent years. Already available in Thailand, the new Almera looks mighty convincing, with a fresh design that certainly won’t be made fun of as frequently as the old one. We’re genuinely keen to have a go to see how far Nissan has come in this segment.
8. Perodua Myvi GT
First previewed in the 2018 Kuala Lumpur International Motorshow, complete with racing stripes, Alcantara buckets, Brembo brakes and 17-inch wheels, the Perodua Myvi GT seemed like a pipedream built to inspire owners with a knack for performance modifications. However, Perodua CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad claimed that the company was still studying the feasibility of putting the concept to production as recently as January this year. If it does come to fruition – and we’re really hoping it does – count us in for a test drive. This could be the Malaysian hot hatch we’ve all been waiting for since the Proton Satria GTI was discontinued.
9. Proton X50
Speaking of Proton, one of the most highly-anticipated cars in Malaysia this year is the national carmaker’s take on the Geely SX11, widely touted to be the new X50. The compact SUV was scheduled to debut towards the end of 2020 and we’re hoping this plan is still intact despite the slowdown in business operations caused by the MCO. With prices expectedly lower than the X70, the X50 should be more accessible and relatable to Proton’s traditional customer base who may be looking to upgrade from their Sagas and Personas. Our colleagues from the Philippines seemed to like it, and we can’t wait to try it out ourselves.