The Road Ahead : December 2010
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 50 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2010/JAN 2011 MOTORING AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS sports over $80,000 bmw m3 coupe ONE OF M3'S most endearing features is the spread of flexibility that can be dialled into the car via the M-Drive, so that steering forces, damper settings and traction or stability control can be adjusted. There are three different settings allowing a sports or track day set up, a highly controlled but more forgiving ride for tarmac style rallies and a normal setting for the daily drive. Power comes from a high revving 4.0- litre V8 engine bristling with advanced technologies. The result is an engine that gives its best across a wide rev range and delivers it with the glorious backing of a grand prix sound track. A peak of 309 kW is released at 8300 rpm while 400 Nm of torque comes in at 3900 rpm. The performance delivery is not only breathtaking, but is as easy to achieve as driving your average Japanese sedan. Just don't expect comparable fuel economy. BMW engineers have gone to such lengths as fitting a carbon fibre roof panel and alloy bonnet to lower the car's centre of gravity and thus aid its poise and cornering balance. The cabin possesses all the elegance and style of other prestige BMW offerings, but with just the slightest edge in seat bolstering for additional lateral support and a little more tactile feel to the controls. MLP: $158,300. suv under $40,000 volkswagen tiguan 103 tdi TIGUAN HAS RECEIVED a number of technical improvements since last year while retaining the same pricing structure for the five model range line- up. Volkswagen's acclaimed 2.0-litre diesel is the ideal choice for this type of family- oriented vehicle because it delivers all-round performance and remarkable fuel efficiency. A seven-speed DSG transmission is now available and, when coupled to the diesel, there is a further improvement in performance flexibility while fuel consumption is reduced by 16 percent to just 6.6-litres/100 km. Tiguan delivers an impressive ride and handling package in all situations. While the steering is light and direct when parking and manoeuvring, there is a firmer feel and rock-solid directional stability on the open road and this highly accomplished handling is accompanied by a particularly well-insulated ride over broken or patched surfaces. Off the bitumen, Tiguan performs creditably, thanks to Volkswagen's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, ensuring power is directed to the wheels with the most grip. Cabin convenience and practicality are the major reasons families turn to compact SUVs and Tiguan is among the best. MLP: $39,190. SCORES TOTAL: 730. 2nd: Mitsubishi ASX 4WD, 714. 3rd: Kia Sportage AWD Platinum, 697. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 1 C, Depreciation 3 M, Running costs 8 H, Fuel consumption 8 C, Warranty 5 M, Insurance 5 L, Standard features 7 M. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 10 C, Environment 7 C, Comfort 9 H, Space 5 M, Practicality 7 H, Ergonomics 9 H, Build & finish 9 H. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8 M, Ride 9 M, Handling 9 H, Braking 8 H, Smoothness/quietness 8 L, Off Road Ability 7 M. visit www.australiasbestcars.com.au MORE INFO LEVEL OF WEIGHTED IMPORTANCE FOR EACH SCORE: L=LOW,M=MEDIUM,H=HIGH,C=CRITICAL. SCORES TOTAL: 756. 2nd: Audi TT-S TFSI Quattro, 748. 3rd: Audi S4 TFSI Quattro, 744. CRITERIA (OUT OF 10): VALUE FOR MONEY: Pricing 2 M, Depreciation 4 L, Running costs 5 L, Fuel consumption 1 M, Warranty 5 M, Insurance 4 L, Standard features 7 H. DESIGN & FUNCTION: Safety 9 C, Environment 6 C, Comfort 9 H, Ergonomics 9 H, Build & finish 9 C. ON THE ROAD: Performance 8 C, Ride 9 M, Handling 9 C, Braking 9 C, Smoothness/quietness 8 M.