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Top Gear Philippines

The great thing about cars is that they can be appreciated on many levels. Most of the time we appreciate them on a visual level, and on this level itself there are numerous ways: motor shows, magazines, websites (ahem), Tumblr (lots of car porn here) and seeing them on fun runs during weekends on the way to Tagaytay. During car shows we can also appreciate the intensity of some car audio setups, allowing us to appreciate automobiles on an aural level. Via motor sport, cars can also be appreciated on a competitive level. This weekend for instance, many Ferrari fans will hope Alonso finishes high so that Vettel’s dominance can be stopped—or at least put on hold. But the best way to experience a car is to drive it. In my experience, you don’t even have to drive it to the limit. (And if you do, you better have the skill to back it up.) Sitting in the cabin and feeling how a car responds, how it pampers, how it stops and just how it makes you feel when you’re behind the wheel—this is what appreciating cars is all about. There are cars we want to drive more than others. For me, it’s an eclectic mix of sports cars, SUVs, coupes and a pickup. So here’s my list of current-production cars that I want to drive, soon hopefully. And once I’ve driven them, you’ll be the first to know. Cars may be nice to look at, but that’s not what they’re built for.

  1. Chevrolet Camaro – My neighbor has a blue one, and there are days when the car made me late because I thought I had a few minutes to spare to stare at it. It’s just a stunning, head-turning automobile. I’ve always wanted to experience a modern muscle car. And yes, as cliché and immature as it sounds, I’m still not over the Transformers connection.
  2. Ferrari 458 –Some say it’s the best Ferrari in ages, and that even Ferrari themselves are surprised at how well it turned out. All I know is, anyone who calls himself a car nut has to drive a Ferrari at least once in his life, and this is what I want to drive.
  3. Ford F-150 SVT Raptor – There are times when I want a pickup that’s oozing with brawn to handle rough trails and intimidate irresponsible public utility vehicles. A strengthened F-150 pickup powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 411hp will do nicely.
  4. Mercedes-Benz G-Class – For me this is the ultimate SUV. Designed for military standards and capable of handling almost any terrain, the basic design has remained unchanged for more than 30 years, and it still looks damn good. I admit I wouldn’t know how to maximize its off-road capabilities, but learning from our off-road gurus Beeboy Bargas and Robby Consunji is part of the fun.
  5. Honda Jazz – I drive a Toyota hatchback now and I love it. But if there came a time when I would have to replace it, I’d probably get another hatchback. And this is one of the candidates.
  6. Ford Fiesta M/T – This is the other candidate if I ever have to choose a hatchback. I’ve driven the Fiesta S dual-clutch, automatic version, and the chassis is brilliant to drive. But the transmission was erratic at low rpm, and I was tipped off that the manual variant is better. This I have to see.
  7. Audi R8 – It’s amazing how the Germans managed to create something that can turn heads as much as the Italian supercars. Its blend of design and engineering make it the perfect car for tech-savvy playboys or people who want to be noticed when they arrive at the red carpet. I can only imagine what it’s like to drive it.
  8. BMW 1-Series M Coupe – This list wouldn’t be complete without a BMW M car, and this is my current favorite (previous M fantasy cars were the E46 M3 and the E90 M3). I’ve driven the 135i with the performance kit and that car is a beast. This should be more challenging to drive, but with a six-speed manual and a twin-turbo inline-six, I want all the time in the world to see if I can tame it.
  9. Hyundai Genesis Coupe – This is the car that surprised everyone when it came out. It’s sleek, powerful, rear-wheel drive and most importantly, wore a Hyundai badge in front. It would be nice to experience the car that shifted Hyundai’s character from ho-hum to oh wow.
  10. Lexus CT200h – I’m a fan of the Toyota Prius, the most underappreciated car currently on sale now. The combination of Lexus refinement and the silence and technology of a hybrid vehicle makes me itching to take the CT200h out for a spin.
  11. Toyota Land Cruiser – I’ve always admired the Toyota Land Cruiser since the 80 Series models appeared on our streets in the mid-90s. Now it’s still the same hulking, intimidating (notice a trend here?) and powerful SUV but it looks more comfortable now and it has a commanding presence on the road. Still, when you need it to, it can climb muddy mountain trails and laugh at potholes on the streets.
  12. Mazda MX-5 – Who can resist the appeal of a small, convertible roadster? I imagine going on a road trip in this with an overnight bag in the back, and looking for some mountain roads to play with, then stopping to sleep at the first (affordable) hotel I find. As the sun sets while I’m on the road, I lower the roof, play ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Elton John on my music player, and savor the closest feeling I can get to driving and being one with the outdoors.
  13. Porsche 911 Carrera S M/T – Botchi always said Porsches are the best driving cars on the planet. I’m afraid of the 911 GT cars because they can kill you if you get too reckless. I’ll be happy exploring the capabilities of a Carrera S with a stick shift.
  14. Volkswagen Golf GTI – This is the car that fuels the European obsession with hot hatches. I want to see what the fuss is all about.
  15. Fiat 500 – I saw plenty of these when I was in Rome. They’re like Mini Coopers with an Italian flair. In some ways, they’re even more stylish than the Minis. The interior alone is something to relish just sitting inside.
  16. Lamborghini Gallardo 560-4 – A supercar with an Italian spirit built by exacting Germans, the Gallardo is a machine that stirs the soul. Its raw appeal is a contrast to Ferrari’s calculated, sexy image.
  17. Nissan GT-R – If Jeremy Clarkson is to be believed, the GT-R accelerates like nothing on earth. This was proven by Motor Trend’s much-posted drag race on the internet. For all of Nissan’s faults here and in the rest of the world, they somehow made up for it by building this Porsche-challenging sports car with Godzilla levels of performance.
Dinzo Tabamo
Executive Editor
Dinzo has been fascinated with cars since he was 12 years old, when he picked up a car magazine in his cousin's bedroom. It is a passion that never waned.
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