We’ve covered our top 10 picks for the decade, but now its time for something a little more specific. These are my picks for the top 10 cars that have debuted, in working and ready-for-sale form, during 2019. Sadly, this means that most hypercars and concepts that were revealed across various motor shows will have to be excluded from this list. The following models are listed in no particular rank or order.
BMW M8 Gran Coupe
It is no secret that I am biased towards fast, 4-door cars with more performance under the hood than their appearance would suggest. The new M8 Gran Coupe fits that profile quite well and it is the most powerful BMW model available from new. Its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 churns out 616bhp and 750Nm which is enough to launch the luxury GT from nought to a 100kph in 3.2 seconds. Plus, it offers both 2WD and 4WD driveability.
Audi RS6 Avant
What’s better than superfast sedan? A really fast estate. The latest generation of the Audi RS6 Avant looks meaner than most supercars of today which kind of drops the sleeper car act. Surprisingly, the new angry suits the RS6 Avant’s performance package – 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 making 592bhp and 800Nm. It’s heavy which brings the 0-100kph acceleration time to 3.6 seconds, reaching 200kph in 12 seconds and to a limited top speed of 250kph. Do I really need more reason to love the RS6 Avant? I think not.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+
The Chiron is plenty special as it is, even without the crown of world’s fastest production car. But now it’s got a title that no one can snatch – the FIRST production car to go quicker than 300mph/483kph. Of course, it needed a few modifications to make it slipperier through the air to reach those speeds. The customer version of that design was announced to be the Super Sport 300+ of which only 30 units will be made. Just in case you were wondering, it does have more power than the ‘stock’ Chiron – 1577bhp from the 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 powerhouse.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The Shelby GT500 is the ultimate Mustang that you can buy directly from Ford. While I professed my affection for the Mustang GT a few years ago, the GT500 is a far more capable and more visceral version of the American pony car. Apart from the aerodynamic upgrades which it a quick track car, it also produces a lovely roar. In its latest form, the supercharged 5.2-litre V8 churns out 760bhp and 847Nm. The latest version looks amazing too and its hard to forget the spectacle that was its first unveil – lowered from the roof at the Detroit Motor Show.
Tesla Model 3
This one is a tricky one to place on this list. While the Model 3 was first unveiled sometime back in 2016 with production starting in 2017, the true entry-spec version was introduced in 2019. This was it, Tesla’s “mass market” product of which many units were to be made. It was the American EV manufacturer’s first large-scale production model and that’s why it has a place on this list. The Model 3 is an alternative to the usual entry-spec executive saloons like the BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. In its 2019 Standard Range variant, the Model 3 has a 50kWh battery pack for a claimed range of 381km (WLTP). The single motor drives the rear wheels and has an output of 335bhp and 450Nm.
From the Model 3 to the world’s first mainstream rival to the Model S, we come to the Porsche Taycan. In many ways, I’m kind of glad they decided to build a four-door super-EV before they made an electric 911. The Taycan is a good looking car and distinctly Porsche. Its interior is plush with plenty of screens on the dashboard and over engineers the details like the cover for the charging port sliding into the fender when you rub the aero-flick. It’s so cool! Under the skin too, the Taycan takes the EV basics and does them smarter. It uses an 800V system, double the standard 400V system found in most EVs, which allows it to charge even faster. If you somehow find a 270kW DC fast charger, it can replenish the 83.7kWh usable capacity of its battery pack from 5 to 80 per cent in under 23 minutes. The more commonly available 50kW DC charger would take around 90 minutes. Range? 400km plus. Performance? 680PS and 850Nm. 0-100kph? 3.2 seconds. Would I pick this over the Porsche Panamera Turbo S? Only if Porsche adds the pop-up multi-section spoiler to the Taycan as well.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4
Unlike some carmakers, Porsche is doing its best to find the balance between quiet “green” cars and naturally-aspirated symphonies. In 2019, the Stuttgart brand brought out the latest generation of the GT4 sportscar, the 718 Cayman GT4. It features a 4.0-litre, flat-six engine that revs to 8000rpm and produces 414bhp. The power is sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual shifter. The chassis is tuned for track performance with extra aero like the front splitter and fixed rear wing. While I don’t mean to join the bandwagon of “this is one of the last purist cars to be made new”, I do worry about the eventual decline of these kind of cars. Let’s enjoy them while we do have them, all the way to the limiter.
The Mk5 Supra was one of the most anticipated cars of the 2018. But it finally got unveiled at the start of 2019 and it was a bitter sweet moment for most Supra-fanboys. On the outside, it looked like a proper JDM sportscar with its curves, air vents and sharp details. Inside the cabin, it was totally BMW. Boring, functional and German. There is nothing interesting or fun about being inside a Mk5 Zupra. It’s well-known that the A90 Supra was developed alongside the latest BMW Z4 roadster and shares its 3.0-litre turbocharged engine too. Everyone who drove one said it was a great car to drive but it lacked the “it” factor that made the Supra name endearing to most petrol heads.
I too had to make a choice between the constant BMW hazing or appreciating it as it is. I choose to embrace the new-gen Supra for being a good sports car that looks really cool. It has a lot of built-in potential for tuning and bumping up the performance which is also something I really appreciate from Toyota. On top of that, the company lied about the Supra’s figures in the best way possible – the official output is 335bhp while most dyno tests state that it makes close to 380bhp from factory. I’d like mine in yellow please!
Bentley Flying Spur
The new Bentley Flying Spur is an odd mix of luxury, style and performance. This third generation Flying Spur is really big at 5.3 metres in length with a wheelbase that is 3.1 metres long. So it’s got plenty of space for you in the backseat to stretch in comfort, indulge yourself and enjoy the Bentley features. But this is a luxo-barge you might want to drive yourself on a bit of open road. Why? Because it’s powered by a 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbo engine making 626bhp and 900Nm. That’s enough oomph for this 2.5 tonne Bentley to do 0-100kph in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 333kph. The driving dynamic checklist ticks off all-wheel-drive with torque vectoring, all-wheel steering and an adaptive suspension. The Flying Spur is a very good looking four-door GT that can go really fast on the Autobahn, which would make it my luxury dream car of 2019. Plus, it looks amazing in both Verdant green and Beluga black.
Ferrari actually introduced a bunch of cars in 2019, including a new hypercar too. But it was their least powerful car of 2019 that makes it on the list simply because of how beautiful the Roma is. Make no mistake, it’s not a slow car either with its 3.9-litre turbocharged V8 spitting out 611bhp. But its the package around the powertrain that makes this car so special. The Roma is a two-seater GT with a very plush cabin with a layout for comfy touring with someone special. While some may accuse it of borrowing too much design influence from Aston Martin and Jaguar, I think the Roma is prettier than the sum of its parts.