The Z4 carries on the BMW family tradition of superbly designed roadsters. The Z4 replaced the Z3 in 2002 in both the coupe and convertible versions. The car’s elongated hood, mid seating and unique styling make it instantly recognizable.
At the heart of the Z4 is BMW’s small and high performance inline 4-cylinder, twin turbo, 2.0 litre engine, available on the Z4 sDrive28i. It is the smallest of three Z4 engine variants. Despite its size this small block produces 240 hp of peak power and generates 260 lb-ft of torque at just 1250 rpm. The car lunges from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Rear wheel drive with a near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution delivers precise power for perfect launches and effortless cornering. BMW offers several trims and packages for the Z4, including the M Sport package, which features enhancement options such as an aerodynamics kit, M Sport steering wheel and anthracite headliner.
Audi’s well-known sports coupe has been manufactured continuously since 1998. Its name comes from the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) race. The car’s iconic shape has remained largely unchanged over its three generations.
Underneath the bold lines of its hood, the 2017 Audi TTS packs a 292 hp TFSI engine and Audi’s Quattro all wheel drive system, which give the car its exceptional sports handling and track performance. Four driving modes adjust multiple performance characteristics including the AWD system and the car’s magnetic ride control.
On the outside the car’s quad exhausts and LED lights enhance its looks. On the inside a three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel with shift paddles proclaims it a driver’s car. Fine Nappa leather seating surfaces enhance interior looks and feel. Twelve-way power adjustable front sport seats leave little to be desired in terms of seating comfort. Audi’s latest gen infotainment systems are just one of many technological features of the TTS.
Nissan’s high performance successor to the Skyline series has been built since 2007. This front-engined AWD sports car is a head turner and a well respected track day weapon. US retail prices start at $109,990. City fuel economy is claimed to be 16 mpg.
One factor in making the GT-R exceptional is that it is handcrafted. Each GT-R engine is built entirely by one master engine-builder in a climate-controlled room. The engine is a twin turbo 3.8 litre V6, which produces 565 hp of peak power and an equally immense 467 lb-ft of peak torque. The finished car is inspected under three different light sources to emulate different times of the day.
The Driver gets all the necessary information from the car’s display commander, which allows controlling key functions through a multi-touch screen. One can scroll through all the menus, and move selections around the screen by touching a dial.
MB’s compact luxury roadster has been renamed from SLK to SLC for the 2017 model year according to the manufacturer’s updated nomenclature system, which follows a class hierarchy of MB cars. A retractable hardtop was a novel innovation of the car when it was first launched.
The 2017 SLC300 packs a 2.0 litre inline four engine producing 241 hp. This powerpack can take the lightweight SLC300 from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. The car’s 9g-tronic automatic transmission features imperceptibly quick shifts and seamless power delivery for performance as well as fuel efficiency.
Another fuel saver is MB’s eco start/stop system that automatically shuts off the engine at traffic lights and other engine idling times. Thankfully MB has provided a button in the SLC to shut this system off. The interior of the SLC300 features power sport seats with memory, and a dual zone climate control to allow for separate driver and passenger settings.
The 2017 F‑Type is meant to be powerful, agile and distinctive. Jaguar’s two-door, two-seater sports car was designed as a replacement for the XK and was rolled out in 2013. The car is being offered in coupe and convertible body styles. US retail prices start at $61,400.
The F-Type coupe features a 340 hp supercharged V6 engine coupled with a highly responsive 6-speed manual transmission, or an 8-speed automatic transmission with sport mode. Jaguar’s sport exhaust system with center-mounted twin exhaust pipes emits pleasant sounds when the engine revs.
The F-Type is available with AWD and RWD configurations. Jaguar’s advanced all wheel drive incorporates intelligent driveline dynamics to offer impressive handling. A lightweight aluminum base structure with high torsional rigidity further enhances the drive quality. In keeping with racecar heritage, the F-Type has torque vectoring. This feature applies controlled independent braking of the inside wheels, adding to the turning forces and improving the steering response.
The 2017 SL450 forms the starting lineup of MB’s SL class roadsters. Under the hood of the SL450 is a 362 hp, 3.0 litre, V6, twin turbocharged engine that can fire as many as four times in one millisecond. Technologies such as high-pressure direct injection with ultrafine fuel spray, diecast alloy block, and widely variable valve timing make it a smooth, powerful and highly efficient engine. MB’s robust 9-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles now also comes as standard on the SL450.
To add to the driving pleasure MB has provided a multimode drive program selector on the console. A rotary knob lets the driver choose from four modes, ‘eco’, ‘comfort’, ‘sport’ and ‘sport+’. Each mode adjusts the car’s throttle response, shift points, steering settings and other performance characteristics. There is also a customizable ‘individual’ mode to allow for purely manual shifting. A sport exhaust system with polished chrome tailpipes produces rich notes. US retail prices start at $86,950.
McLaren has made a habit of outperforming and outshining supercar brands several times more expensive. The 570S is a thoroughbred performer, and is entirely at home on the racetrack. The car has been designed to be completely driver-centric. It is exceptionally light, with the best power to weight ratio in its class.
The beast that powers the 570S is a mid-mounted 3.8 litre twin turbo V8 delivering a massive output of 562 hp (570 ps), hence the name of the car. Max torque is 443 lb-ft, and 0 to 60 mph can be reached in a blistering 3.2 seconds. Top speed is 204 mph.
The car’s carbon fibre skeleton is a legacy from F1 racing. Adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars and a double wishbone suspension combine to create a highly responsive ride. The car’s active dynamics panel can be used to set the system to ‘normal’, ‘sport’ or ‘track’ modes for optimum handling depending on conditions and mood.
Chevy offers the 2017 Corvette in three variants, namely the ‘Stingray’, ‘Grand Sport’ and ‘Z06’. Stingray is the base coupe variant and sells in the US with a starting price tag of $55,450. According to some, that’s a throwaway price for a supercar of its caliber and talents.
The Stingray’s aggressively styled exterior provides a hint of what is under the hood. The 6.2 litre V8, LT1 performance engine puts out 460 hp and propels this Corvette from standstill to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Electric power steering insulates the driver from road imperfections.
Chevy even offers a performance data recorder, which logs videos of driving sessions, along with the car’s performance data. This enables a Corvette driver to analyze and improve driving techniques. The car’s aluminum space frame is light and very rigid, adding to handling preciseness. The Stingray’s cockpit is highly driver-oriented. A driving mode selection dial enables the driver to pick and personalize five driving modes with as many as 12 performance variables to master any road type.
The 911 Turbo is Porsche’s iconic luxury sports car. It is powered by a 3.8 litre horizontally opposed engine, which is mounted in the back and produces 540 hp of awesome power. The car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat. Top speed is 199 mph.
This supercar performance is made possible by an all-wheel drive system with Porsche Traction Management (PTM), and a fully variable electronically regulated rear differential lock among other race-bred technologies.
On the inside Porsche’s Connect Plus module effectively links the car to a smartphone and provides real-time traffic information. The module features iPhone compatibility, and makes it possible to use phone apps, contacts and calendar in the car.
A Bose surround sound system with 12 speakers and 555 watts of output is specifically tuned to the interior acoustics of the 911 Turbo, and comes as standard fitment. Porsche also offers a range of exterior and interior enhancements for the Turbo models.
The new 718 Cayman is powerful, efficient and sleek. This mid-engined roadster is now available with an extended color range and updated styling that makes the car look wider.
The Cayman’s bite comes from a four-cylinder turbocharged boxster engine, which is horizontally opposed for the lowest center of mass. The engine has been upgraded to produce more torque, and to go to a higher rpm limit with less fuel consumption. The Cayman now has 300 hp and a top speed of 170 mph. Moreover, the engine sits no more than 30 cm behind the driver.
The new Cayman is also more sporty and nimble. A sportier chassis setup, a new sports exhaust system, and an optional GT sports steering wheel ensure that the car is geared for sporty performance all round. Porsche have shortened the distance between the wheel and the gear lever, and fundamentally revised the car’s communication management with a 7-inch multi touchscreen.