A year on the ex­ec­u­tive ex­press

Lux­u­ri­ate in Gover’s top pres­tige picks of 2012

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

IT’S been an ex­tra­or­di­nary year for pres­tige and lux­ury car buy­ers.

The ac­tion has cov­ered ev­ery size and price class, with ev­ery­thing from a to­tally new brand, In­finiti, through to this week’s up­date of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, one so thor­ough it amounts to a new model.

We’ve seen huge price cuts on the Rolls-Royce Phan­tom, the lo­cal de­but of the land­mark McLaren MP4-12C to ri­val Fer­rari, and the in­tro­duc­tion of an all-new 3 Se­ries BMW, which is softer than ever be­fore.

I have spent time at the wheel of ev­ery­thing from the out­ra­geous Lam­borgh­ini Aven­ta­dor to an Audi A1 pro­to­type that points to a range-ex­ten­der hy­brid fu­ture.

There was even the dis­guised pro­to­type of the Lexus IS that will hit the road in 2014. Not to men­tion the all-elec­tric Smart car built by Benz and the Ac­tive E fromBMWthat runs on the me­chan­i­cal package for the coming i3 city car.

It’s been a lot to sam­ple and a lot to di­gest, es­pe­cially putting it into con­text and bring­ing it back to the Cars­guide mantra— real cars, on real roads, for real peo­ple— when the pric­etags are out of the reach of most or­di­nary Aus­tralians.

But there are peo­ple who can af­ford th­ese cars and a lot more who like to read about them.

Here are my five (plus one) favourites from 2012. A new 911 doesn’t come along ev­ery day, or even ev­ery decade, which makes the new car a land­mark. But it’s the way it drives and features such as the ex­tra cabin space and kid­car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity that make it

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