Speed Week 2018
One of the biggest revelations from last month’s Budget 2019 address by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was a fuel subsidy for cars with engine capacities of 1,500cc and below. Had it been a blanket subsidy, recently-launched continental cruisers like the MINI Countryman Plugin Hybrid (page 38) and Mercedes-Benz C200 (page 132) would have benefited at the expense of lesser cars with bigger engines such as the Proton Persona and Honda H-RV.
Both Lim and Transport Minister Anthony Loke have gone on to clear the air, saying that luxury cars would not qualify for such rebates. How such a ‘class system’ can be officially implemented remains to be seen. But subsidy or no, credit should not be drawn from MINI, Mercedes and other premium carmakers who have managed to uphold lofty standards in luxury and dynamism in their products which have been forced to go on a diet.
While the chargeable Countryman and downsized C-Class show how the 1.5-litre four-banger can be reinvented to satiate the driving demands of Malaysia’s T20 population, the B40friendly Perodua Alza (page 37), continues to make the most out of the same engine architecture at the lowest cost. It may not look as fresh or as fancy as most of the other cars we have lined up in this month’s Drives section, but the seven-seat Perodua continues to offer incredible bang for buck to growing families on a budget.
Yes, budget is a term we use in TopGear from time to time. We’d happily test anything on four wheels, sometimes two. And occupying the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the bulk of this issue’s Speed Week contestants: Bugatti Chiron, Ferrari 488 Pista and McLaren 600LT included. We suggest you try battling the urge to flip through this part of the mag (page 57 to 123) too quickly because the build-up to this year’s winner is really quite a ride.
Once you’ve read it till the end, feel free to write in and tell us what you think. Was the winning car worthy of its crown? Or should it have gone to something else instead? Want to see a Malaysian edition of Speed Week? Or would you be happier if we did a Perodua Alza group test instead?
As always, we’re all ears. You can also get in touch with us via our online platforms (Facebook, Instagram and www.topgear.
com.my), where more exciting content is published for free. In the meantime, drive safe and enjoy the issue.