EASY LIKE SUN­DAY MORN­ING

Look­ing for the coolest sports cars for the sum­mer? Sean Li picks out the cream of the crop, from exotics and SUVS to prac­ti­cal but still sporty mod­els soon to hit the roads

Hong Kong Tatler - - Cars -

As­ton Martin DB11

Few mar­ques have such a cool fac­tor at­tached to them as As­ton Martin. It’s not just be­cause it’s the car of choice for a cer­tain se­cret agent, but it’s the un­der­stated way that As­ton Martin presents it­self. After a year or so of in­ter­nal re­struc­tur­ing, the brand is back with a twin-turbo V12 en­gine in the new DB11, and a new de­sign that’s im­me­di­ately recog­nis­able but dis­tinct from its pre­vi­ous mod­els. It re­mains to be seen how well the en­gi­neers in Gay­don have man­aged the tran­si­tion to tur­bocharged en­gines.

Bentley Ben­tayga

The Bentley Ben­tayga has an in­ter­est­ing his­tory. A pro­to­type was un­veiled in 2012 to very mixed re­views, pri­mar­ily on its aes­thet­ics. At the time, Bentley promised it would im­prove be­fore the pro­duc­tion ver­sion. Now that the Ben­tayga has been for­mally un­veiled, the jury is still out. Let’s just say that it’s an ac­quired taste—but there’s an un­de­ni­able ap­peal to the Ben­tayga if you’re keen on the SUV seg­ment, es­pe­cially with one that can reach 300km/h and still has true off-road ca­pa­bil­ity. The in­te­rior is spec­tac­u­lar, with all the hand-fin­ished leather you’d ex­pect, and even an op­tion for a tour­bil­lon clock in the dash that has an au­to­matic wind­ing mech­a­nism. Un­for­tu­nately, that op­tion may be sold out by the time you place your or­der.

BMW M2

At one point, BMW’S tag line was “the ul­ti­mate driv­ing ma­chine.” The M series has al­ways rep­re­sented the epit­ome of the true driver’s car—one where the con­trols seemed di­rectly wired to your brain. As the M cars ma­tured, though, there was a mid­dle-age shift where the per­for­mance was still there, but with a lit­tle aloof­ness. Not so with the M2, which seeks to re­dress the bal­ance and bring back the orig­i­nal spirit of the M series. It’s more com­pact, but a true M car through and through. Thank­fully, it’s even avail­able with a man­ual gear­box; don’t hes­i­tate to tick that op­tion if you’re so in­clined.

Fer­rari GTC4 Lusso

The Fer­rari GTC4 Lusso is the suc­ces­sor to the mar­que’s first four-wheel-drive car, the FF, and a true four-seater to boot. While the Cal­i­for­nia is said to be a 2+2, you’d be hard-pressed to seat four peo­ple com­fort­ably un­less they’re all of a diminu­tive stature. The GTC4 Lusso brings an up­dated de­sign while the me­chan­ics are still crammed with lots of acronyms de­rived from Fer­rari’s racing divi­sion. I’d urge you to test-drive the GTC4 Lusso (or the FF while you wait for the Lusso to ar­rive in Hong Kong), as it will def­i­nitely open your eyes to what an all-round Fer­rari is—pro­vid­ing the ex­cep­tional per­for­mance and her­itage of the pranc­ing horse, but in full com­fort for you and your pas­sen­gers.

Honda NSX

The orig­i­nal Honda NSX dates back to 1989—a time when Honda en­joyed much suc­cess as a For­mula 1 en­gine builder, but was bet­ter known for its fam­ily sa­loons and a few hot hatch­backs than its road-go­ing sports cars. At the time, though, Honda had much higher as­pi­ra­tions. With the help of the late Ayr­ton Senna, it de­vel­oped the NSX—A wake-up call to the ex­otic brands who hadn’t con­sid­ered com­pe­ti­tion com­ing from the Pa­cific. It went dor­mant for some 10 years, but Honda is bring­ing it back, stuffed with all the lat­est tech­nolo­gies: a light­weight chas­sis, four-wheel drive through a nine-speed du­al­clutch gear­box (re­mem­ber when we could make do with five speeds?) and a 550bhp hy­brid en­gine.

Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán LP610-4 Avio

The Hu­racán made land­fall just two years ago and has been a roar­ing suc­cess for the Sant’agata Bolog­nese brand. Gone were those crit­i­cisms that Lam­borgh­i­nis could be dif­fi­cult to drive; the Hu­racán pro­vided the per­for­mance that one would ex­pect, as well as the in­stantly recog­nis­able styling—you don’t get a Lam­borgh­ini if you’re try­ing to make a dis­creet en­trance—but with a po­larised per­son­al­ity, be­ing easy to drive and al­most docile in city traf­fic. If you’ve ever wanted your ex­otic car to re­mind you of a high-per­for­mance jet, or feel that too many of your neigh­bours have “reg­u­lar” Lam­borgh­i­nis, the new lim­ited edi­tion Hu­racán LP610-4 Avio is for you. In­spired by jet fight­ers, the Avio will be avail­able in five dis­tinct colours, com­plete with racing stripes and a spe­cific L63 em­blem (for Lam­borgh­ini’s found­ing date in 1963) em­broi­dered on the seats. Only 250 will be made, giv­ing you a dis­tinct ad­van­tage in the ex­clu­siv­ity cat­e­gory for a Sun­day morn­ing drive.

Maserati Le­vante

If you’re par­tic­u­larly fond of Ital­ian exotics and SUVS, don’t wait for Fer­rari; the com­pany has stated cat­e­gor­i­cally that it’s not go­ing to build one. Lam­borgh­ini is (in the form of the Urus) but you’ll have to wait at least two years be­fore the first de­liv­er­ies. In the

DE­SIGNER STYLE The Maserati Le­vante is a ca­pa­ble off-roader, with an in­te­rior de­signed by Ermenegildo Zegna

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