Evo Singapore Mar-Apr 2018

Evo Singapore Mar-Apr 2018

001 EVO COVER 081 Mar-Apr 210X275mm.jpg

On sale now!

Porsche Carrera T + BMW M4 Club Sport

Two lightweight super coupes go head to head. Both offer big thrills and lively responses but with two distinct personalities. It’s never been harder to decide, unless you have space for two in your garage. 

evo Car of the Year

Hot Hatch, Sports Saloon, Supersaloon, Coupe, SUV, Supercar, Hypercar

It’s one of the most anticipated shootouts on the motoring calendar and this year we have been more specific on car categories as every model group deserves a chance to shine. So, not one, but 7 winners this time around. And (spoiler alert), there’s no 911 in here…shock, horror.




The curtains are pulled back on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS MkII. Also highlights from the Singapore Motor Show, as well as the launch of the stunning Lexus LS in Singapore.



evo Singapore goes for blast in the hot hatch perennial favourite, the VW Golf GTI ver 7.5
The guys do a brief history check on the famous Golf GTI and how the latest Mk 7.5 version has upped the performance and design game over the years
  • Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe

  • Volkswagen Polo GTI

  • Kia Sorento

  • Audi S5 Sportback

  • Volkswagen Golf GTI

  • Lexus LC500



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The NSX Factor

One of Tokyo’s most famous tuning garages for the original Honda NSX meets up with the latest V8 electric hybrid version and decides if the 25 year wait for Honda’s latest supercar has been worth it.


Dry Run

evo Singapore’s editorial director, Sheldon Trollope, heads out to the heat haze of Dubai’s desert towns to put the latest Porsche Cayenne through its paces in one of the most challenging off-road environments on the planet

Evo Singapore Jan-Feb 2018

Evo Singapore Jan-Feb 2018

001 EVO COVER 080 Jan-Feb 210X275mm.jpg

On sale now!

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

It’s the most powerful and brutal 911 built so far and has obliterated the legendary Nürburgring production car lap record in the process. We put the 700hp GT2 RS through its paces to find out if this car will forgive you for lapses of judgement on the limit.

Group Test
Audi RS 3 Quattro v BMW M2

Two compact powerhouses, a saloon and a coupe, deliver their thrills in very different ways. Often it’s all about character and not just outright performance. So, which of these best fits your personality?



Toyota Concept i at 2017 Tokyo Motor Show (Courtesy of Toyota Motors Asia Pacific)

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Lexus LS 500h autonomous drive
We try out the Level 2 autonomous functions of the Lexus LS 500h around the expressways of Tokyo.

An overview of the next generation of electric and automated cars that appeared at the Tokyo Show, plus what Porsche and BMW have in store for us at the Singapore Motorshow. We catch up with a lady who has her thoughts firmly focused on gearbox development with Continental Singapore and a man who continues to trust his life across continents with the mighty Mercedes-Benz G Class. Plus, how the ExotiCars Club of Singapore joined forces with local director, Jack Neo to help make Ah Boys to Men 4.



2 Min Test Drives: BMW 530e iPerformance
We charge up BMW's 530e plug-in electric/petrol hybrid and take it for a spin. Just how well does an electric motor support a petrol four pot?

BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo 2 Min drive
BMW ads some extra loading space with a hatch version of its 6 Series Coupe. evo Singapore checks it out in another quick-spin

  • BMW X3 xDrive30i

  • Kia Stinger GT-S

  • Porsche Cayenne Turbo

  • Bentley Continental GT

  • Lexus GS-F

  • Mercedes-AMG E63 4Matic+ Estate

  • BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo

  • Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI

  • Mazda CX-9 2WD 2.5L Turbo

  • Volkswagen Golf TSI

  • BMW 530e iPerformance



Mercedes Sepang training
evo Singapore brushes up on its counter-steering techniques and samples the launch control functions of some of Mercedes-Benz's AMG models at Sepang circuit, Malaysia.

Peter Hackett Mercedes-AMG GT-R lap
evo Singapore's Simon Hulber gets a Mercedes-AMG GT R taxi ride around Sepang circuit in the capable hands of Mercedes GT3 racer, Peter Hackett

Track Attack

Brushing up our track skills in a plethora of Mercedes-AMG models at Sepang circuit in Malaysia, plus a fast lap around it in the limited edition AMG GT R in the capable hands of Mercedes-Benz GT3 racer, Peter Hackett



According to Gordon

Gordon Murray, designer of the legendary McLaren F1 discusses the future of the car with evo and talks about the greatest car ever made.


BMW Safari of a Lifetime

BMW Safari of a Lifetime


If you think today’s SUVs have lost their off-roading roots, BMW proves that its X5 can still get down and dirty with its Driving Experience programme in Namibia.

Words and Photos: Sheldon Trollope


Roots, may be the name of Alex Haley’s award-winning novel and television series. But it also brings to mind where it all started for the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) genre that no carmaker can afford to do without today. Even the likes of Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce are on the verge of launching their first attempt at the SUV market.

Today, many SUV manufacturers count on the fact that over 99 per cent of customers never venture off road in their cars and as a result have been steadily dialling back 4x4 ability in favour of car-like drivability.

One of the first cars to show the world that you can have the best of both worlds is the first BMW X5 when it was launched in 1999.

Arguably, the first brand to introduce the concept of a luxury off-roader was Land Rover with the original Range Rover. But anyone who has driven one before the 2000s will tell you that body control and handling on tarmac was never its forte. Some would even go as far as to say they were agricultural.


Three generations on, the BMW X5 has lost none of its off-roading ability in spite of current trend for SUVs to be more road-focused than ever. An amazing way to prove this dirt track capability was by holding an 8-day off-road driving programme in Namibia.

This is just one of the many driving programmes organised by the BMW and MINI Driving Experience. Wholly owned and operated by BMW M GmbH – the German carmaker’s motorsports division – this outfit conducts a wide range of courses and experiential programmes around the world that range from simple defensive driving courses for complete beginners to professional programmes in order to be certified instructors.

In addition to conducting the courses on race circuits like the Nurburgring Nordschliefe or the winter proving grounds in New Zealand, the BMW and MINI Driving Experience also conducts its off-roading programmes in South Africa and Namibia.

Besides putting the BMW X5 and X3 through its paces, the programme is designed as self-drive tour to experience some of Africa’s best natural attractions first hand. evo Singapore was invited to the 8-day tour of Namibia.


The programme begins at the Okapuka lodge just outside the Namibian capital of Windhoek (say ‘Vint-ook’). This 10,000 hectare game farm serves as the base from which the tour sets off and usefully, the rugged terrain on its premises serves as a good place for participants to familiarise themselves with the BMW X5 and techniques they’ll need to learn to handle their cars over different types of terrain.

The cars used are the BMW X5 xDrive 30d version, which is powered by a 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbodiesel that’s capable of 258hp and 560Nm of torque. For extra protection, the cars are fitted with steel lower bumpers and exposed tow rings for easy extraction in case we get stuck (but never did) as well as some steel plating to shield the drivetrain and engine sump from smashing against rocks or overly deep ruts. Interestingly, winter off-road tyres are also fitted because of how some of the sandy and slippery surfaces react similarly to snow and ice.

As participants arrive from all over the world, the first day is spent with a short off-road tour of Okapuka. It doesn’t take long before our cars are crawling up rocky paths giving the xDrive four-wheel drive system as well as the suspension a real workout.


Traversing the rocky and hilly terrain also quickly gets us acquainted with the Hill Descent Control (HDC) function. When you’re negotiating steep downward gradients with loose surfaces, HDC takes the guesswork out of selecting ratios, differential settings or applying the right amount of brake pressure that would let the car make the descent in a safe and controlled manner.

Once pressed, all the driver has to do is simply steer the car and HDC will automatically brake each wheel as needed with the right pressure. The effect is that the BMW X5 feels like it’s crawling down a steep drop, one wheel at a time. When engaged, the speed of the descent can be changed via the cruise control toggle on the steering wheel from as low as 5km/h all the way to 20km/h.

Hill Descent Control first appeared on the original Land Rover Freelander to make off-roading more accessible without recourse to low ratio transfer cases and locking differentials that can confuse the uninitiated. Since BMW used to own Land Rover back then, the German carmaker was able to access the British outfit’s off-roading expertise and technology and combine it with its industry-leading knowhow of on-road dynamics and marry the two to create SUVs that offer the best of both worlds.

Technologies like this make it so easy in a modern SUV like the BMW X5 that someone with zero off-roading experience can jump in and take this car up and down a mountain in an afternoon. This lies in sharp contrast to expeditions I’ve attended just a few years ago where you had to be trained to know how and when to use a low ratio transfer gearbox and which of up three differentials to lock. Even so, quite often we would get it wrong and a winch or tow truck would have to be called in.

Another takeaway from the experience is that the BMW X5’s seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive in the business. No matter how much the Kalahari and Namib deserts jostled and bumped our cars about, day after day we could step out fresh as daisies with nary a back or neck ache to show for it.


Every day, we would drive for hundreds of kilometres at a time over gravel, rocks, dry riverbeds and sand dunes that take a toll on the suspension and drive train. Naturally, these conditions accelerate the wear and tear in the cars. Our X5 showed just over 50,000km on the odometer but off-road mileage is like dog years and it may as well have covered ten times the distance. Yet the turbodiesel powerplant remained impressively quiet and free of extraneous vibration while the eight-speed automatic gearbox continued to shift smoothly and without any hint of trouble.

With the exception of two tyre punctures on one day of the tour when we drove on the dry bed of Swakop River, the BMW X5 xDrive 30d ran faultlessly, allowing us to take in the rugged beauty that Africa had to offer.


The scale of Namibia is breath-taking, especially when you’re from our land-scarce Republic. On Day 3, we made our way to the 70,000-hectare Erindi Game Reserve – about the size of Singapore. To get there, you turn off the highway and drive for another 40km on a rust-coloured gravel road before you reach the main gate. From there, it’s another half hour before you reach the resort that boasts the most spectacular restaurant views you’re likely to ever see. Overlooking a large watering hole, diners get to see crocodiles, elephants, hippos and all manner of creatures coming to within a stone’s throw of us.


At sunrise and sunset, daily safaris are organised by the game keepers who will travel deep into the Savannah in open Land Rovers for shutterbugs to train their lenses on lions, cheetahs, giraffes and countless other species. Although our guides did well to get us up close and personal with the big game, animals like zebras and wildebeests could hear the 4x4’s diesel motors chugging from miles away and would disappear into the grassland. If ever there was a case for electric off-roaders that could approach in total silence, this was it!

If all we saw was just one of these creatures, like a lone bull elephant approaching our vehicle on a week-long tour, it would have been enough to make the entire trip memorable, but each day, time and again, one surprise after another would emerge.

While some of the accommodations were basic but comfortable at the very least, those accustomed to five-star hotels will find it in at the Strand in Swakopmund, the turn-around point of our journey.


This idyllic coastal town could pass for a European Riviera, while just a few minutes drive away laid the epic sand dunes of the Namib Desert. Apparently, it is the only place in the world where the dunes meet the ocean.

The diversity of wildlife that Namibia has to offer is nothing short of staggering. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a short boat ride off the coast of Swakopmund will give you a first hand encounter with seals that come into your boat as well as dolphins, pelicans and flamingos to name a few.


While nature buffs will be pleased no end, they can also see people in the buff at the San Living Museum in Erongo, Namibia. Here visitors can see a small community of bushmen living their traditional way of life as they have done since the dawn of mankind. Apparently, each group spends about three months at the living museum and the next community is rotated from the Kalahari.

Although it has been said that you should never meet your idols lest you be disappointed, a visit to Namibia will still bowl over even the most ardent wildlife documentary fan; while seeing it from a BMW X5 adds another incredible dimension to the experience. Although this tour doesn’t exactly come cheap; about 5300 Euros or S$8,455 (excluding airfare), it’s easy to see why the this and other longer and costlier African BMW Driving Experiences are mostly sold out until 2019.