Top six cars of 2016

  • Top cars of 2016

Fresh off our Best of the Best issue this year, these automotive gems set the tone of luxury motoring in 2016 … and very possibly beyond.

1. Lamborghini Centenario

Best Interior

Traditionally, Lamborghini has never been subtle in its exterior and interior design, so it’s fitting that when the Italian automaker created a special-edition Aventador, to commemorate founder Ferrucio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday, it would be rather extrovert. The exterior is a riot of naked carbon fibre and bristles with all manner of vents and strakes, but against other Lamborghini specials like the Egoista and Veneno, the Centenario could be considered tame.

On the inside, however, it’s about the ultimate expression of what modern Lamborghini is about – references to fighter jets abound, topped off by a monolithic centre console dominated by a touchscreen infotainment system.


2. Pagani Huayra BC

Best Track Car

The Pagani Huayra BC is road-legal, but driving it on public highways is like driving a Formula One car to the supermarket. Sure, you could do it, but the temptation to make a detour for a few hours to your favourite driving road would just be too great. At any rate, Pagani’s formula is simple – take a regular Huayra, drop some weight, then add more aerodynamic aids and power. Against the standard Huayra, the BC develops 20bhp more and weighs some 130kg less (to the tune of 750bhp and 1,218kg, figures yet to be finalised, says Pagani). Then there’s the monster rear wing, rear diffuser and front splitter further underscoring the Huayra BC’s racetrack intentions. It may be dramatic on the outside, but it doesn’t have a patch on the interior, an area where Pagani’s cars traditionally shine. Where the Huayra looks like a steampunk spaceship, the Huayra BC looks like a mad scientist’s stealth fighter – what a difference matte-finish carbon fibre, Alcantara and tinted chrome makes, wouldn’t you say?


3. Rolls-Royce Dawn

Best Convertible

Unlike its 1950s predecessor, the Silver Dawn saloon, the millennial Dawn is a convertible and a close sibling of the fixed-head Wraith coupe. That said, Rolls-Royce is keen to stress that 80 per cent of the Dawn’s body panels are unique to it.

The Dawn is most comparable to the Phantom Drophead Coupe, but the former is a more sporty proposition, which is appropriate enough, considering Rolls-Royce calls the Wraith a “gentleman’s gran turismo". On-the-move refinement is a key highlight of the Dawn, naturally, with Rolls-Royce saying it achieves the same high levels of the Wraith – no mean feat when the Dawn has a fabric roof.


4. Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The Next Big Thing

“Effortless … Everywhere" is the tagline attached to Rolls-Royce’s upcoming SUV, code-named Project Cullinan. The British carmaker hasn’t explicitly said that its next car (expected in 2017 or 2018) will be an SUV, but it would be silly of Rolls-Royce not to build one, considering the runaway success of arch-rival Bentley’s Bentayga. Indeed, the luxury SUV is a hot automotive property now, and with the Maserati Levante on sale, plus the new Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus on the horizon, Goodwood needs to throw its hat in the ring.

As it appears, Project Cullinan will hit the road (off-road too, possibly) not a moment too soon.


5. Bugatti Chiron

Best Hypercar

The Bugatti Chiron is just about the last word in hypercar excess: stupendously powerful, luxurious and to be built in highly limited numbers (500 to be precise), eclipsing the already excessive Veyron in every conceivable metric. More is certainly more, apparently, something that’s aptly demonstrated by its dramatic exterior design – the graceful arc that starts at its A-pillars and the LED strip that makes up its tail-light cluster. Its performance figures are similarly breathtaking – 1,500bhp from its eight-litre quad-turbocharged W16 engine, acceleration from rest to 100km/hr in under 2.5 seconds and will hit a top speed of 420km/hr, that last figure electronically limited “for road travel".


6. Mercedes Maybach S 600 G

Best Limousine

The Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Guard looks virtually indistinguishable from regular (that is, non-armoured) S-Class saloons, but that’s precisely the point – you don’t want your enemies to know you’re rolling around in an armoured limousine. The S 600 Guard is the world’s first passenger car to be certified with the highest ballistic protection level, VR10, for civilian vehicles, and its blast-protection capability meets the requirements of the Directive ERV (Explosive Resistant Vehicles) 2010. The car’s many reinforcements (such as a hardened bodyshell and aramid inserts) are added at the beginning of production, meaning the S 600 Guard is conceived as an armoured car from the ground up.

Aside from that, it has identical levels of passenger comfort and quality as non-armoured S 600s. One major difference, though, is that the S 600 Guard’s windows are fixed, an essential element in preserving the touted high levels of occupant protection.


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Published 18th October 2016