So now you know the winners of the awards we gave away this year. It wasn't easy at first, and the eventual 2010 BS Motoring COTY winner turned out to be a dark horse which few really gave more than a second thought. But after much deliberation and discussion we did come to a conclusion that put the Ritz as a clear winner.
And so while we stuck to a format of awards to hand out to deserved winners this year, here are some which I thought have done exceptionally well in their categories even though those categories didn't exist in our awards. These are the ones that genuinely caught my attention this year.
1. Best Performance Car: Now this is rather simple, and it has to be without a doubt the Jaguar XF/XFR. Come to think of it, for a little over Rs 68 lakh today, you can pick up the Jag XF with its 370 bhp V8 that's capable of leaving many saloons in its class panting. And if you really want killer value just go and get yourself an XFR. For Rs 90 lakh, on-road Mumbai this 503 bhp BMW M5 maiming supercharged saloon makes the Bavarian's Rs 1.4 cr price-tag look hoplessly inflated. And it does all that by staying right up its backside on a twisty road and still ride like any other Jag. The interiors are fabulous, the exteriors are nice and taut - what more can you ask for?
2. Best SUV under Rs 30 lakh: Ideally it should go to the Fortuner, but I'd give it to the Nissan X-Trail. It may come across as a five-seater that doesn't look butch enough, but the X-Trail is far more capable. It drives like a car, handles like one and when the going gets tough can even carve out its own road. It also has quality interiors, rides well and is extremely comfortable. For all that capability, Nissan could've avoided the rather steep price tag. Otherwise there is very little to fault the X-Trail.
3. Best luxury SUV: I have to admit that I like an SUV that has a great on-road, off-road combination. And in that sense, the Range Rover Sport certainly wowed me. The TDV8 is nice and creamy in its power delivery and can do 200 kph with ease. It looks great and drives well too with exceptionally good ride to boot. But what really blew me away was the way it tackles the rough stuff with nary a squeak nor protest and still looks good enough to take you to the next cocktail party. For just about a crore of rupees, it's all the car you would ever need. Really!
4. Best engine: Actually make that two. And both come from the same manufacturer - BMW. The straight-six twin turbo from the Z4 sDrive35i is extremely flexible and very very potent. It's docile in town but you can give it the stick anytime and it will take you past 200 kph in around 18 seconds. The other engine is anothe twin-turbo, the 4.4-litre V8 on the X6. It manages to do exactly what the Sdrive35i does, except it feels even more manic in that SUV and the fact that the X6 handles so well makes it a joy to either amble around or burst into a frenzy
5. Best Indian effort (apart from the Nano): Okay, that should be simple - the Mahindra Xylo it is. M&M's engineers have done a great job of making an MPV that is more comfortable than an Innova, has more power than an Innova and is more capable if some off-road duties are called for. It may not be the best built, but for its price it does tend to offer a lot. Most importantly it has found acceptance among families rather than fleet owners and that for Mahindra is quite an achievement.