Motor firms start sales race at the glittery Singapore Motorshow
Motor firms start sales race at the glittery Singapore Motorshow Audi Q2 ST PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PENG

Despite the dour economic outlook, looming corporate restructuring and an expected dip in COE supply this year, the Singapore Motorshow goes on.

As before, this weekend's show is an unabashedly sales-oriented event. That said, there is an unusually huge array of new model launches and previews to liven things up.

So, even if you have no intention to buy now (wise, given that post-show exuberance will usually drive COE prices up), there are good reasons to drop in and immerse yourself in a sea of shiny metal and the scent of leather.

The following are some new models to check out.


The smallest German premium crossover is about the size of Honda's HR-V. But the 1-litre turbocharged three-cylinder Q2 (right) promises to be a hoot at the wheel. Despite its size, the car, which costs $134,999, will accommodate five persons with reasonable ease.

Audi also launched the new A5 Coupe ($206,500) and previewed the drool-worthy R8 Spyder (arriving around May). Audi also announced that its new cars will now come with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.


This car is not a cabriolet in the strict sense of the word, but more like a car with a soft top which rolls back like a sardine can. Still, it is an interesting-looking carrier, powered by a 1.2-litre three- cylinder turbo engine. Prices start at $118,988.


Hyundai's take on the Toyota Prius is a fastback with a petrol-electric drivetrain. It is the South Korean brand's first hybrid here and is priced at $118,888.


This compact petrol-electric hybrid crossover is well-built, versatile, refined and will easily cover more than 20km on a litre of fuel. Its 1.6-litre engine is paired with an electric motor powered by lithium batteries. The batteries are covered by a 10-year warranty. Prices start at $109,999.


The rival (pictured) to BMW's 3-series has undergone a significant facelift, which makes it look sharper and swifter. The main difference lies in its 2-litre turbocharged 241bhp/350Nm engine. Prices start at $196,000.


Like other models in the Lexus stable, the RC is now available with a 2-litre turbo power plant (like the one in the IS). This will make the coupe more accessible than its current brethren, whose engines start from 3.5 litres. The 2-litre RC is priced at $242,000.


When Mazda launched its new MX-5 roadster in 2015, it said it chose to have a manual soft-top for simplicity and weight-saving. The MX-5 RF (pictured) has a retractable hard-top, for people who do not mind a bit of complexity and added weight in their lives. Prices start at $175,800.

Mazda also showed off the new CX-9 (above right), which is sleeker and boasts a longer wheelbase than its Ford-based predecessor. It is powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged inline-four, but will be launched only in the next few months.


The ASX crossover has been given a mid-life makeover. It is powered by a 2-litre 150bhp engine, which takes it to 100kmh in 11.3 seconds. Prices start at $109,999. Mitsubishi's Space Star (a hatch version of the Attrage) is also on display. Prices start at $81,999.


Nissan is showing off its new and spunky Pulsar hatch, facelifted Note subcompact and Note e-Power hybrid. The first two cars are available now, while talks are still in progress to bring in the third.

The Note e-Power runs on an electric motor powered by batteries that are charged by a small petrol engine. Nissan Motor says it bridges the gap between conventional hybrids and full electric cars. The company is confident that electric cars will be far more affordable and have far longer ranges in the next five years.


The new Megane (pictured) could increase Renault's minuscule presence in the family sedan segment. The car is visually more striking than the Fluence and far more polished. It comes with either a 1.6-litre petrol or 1.5-litre diesel engine. Two sportier choices are available in the Megaine GT and Megane GT-Line. Prices start at $109,999.


The latest Impreza is built on an all-new platform which will be used on a variety of future Subaru models. It comes with either a 1.6-litre or 2-litre engine, both mated to a continuously variable transmission and driving all four wheels. Both sedan and hatch versions are available, with prices starting at $106,800.


This edgy compact crossover was unveiled in Paris in September. It packs lots of utility for a small car, as well as the promise of a lively drive. It is slated to arrive in the third quarter.


Toyota's "coupe-high rider" (pictured) is bigger, but sits lower than Honda's hi-rider revolutionary vehicle (HR-V). It is also sportier and more modern in its styling.

Equipped with either a 1.2-litre turbo or 1.8-litre hybrid engine, it could arrive by year-end. Toyota also hinted that Borneo Motors might eventually offer the Harrier, an SUV that has proven to be unwaveringly popular since parallel importers started selling it nearly 20 years ago.


The topless version of a car once associated with free love, flower power and tie-dyed T-shirts returns. The latest car (pictured) is powered by a 1.2-litre engine making 105bhp and 175Nm of torque. It has a top speed of 178kmh and clocks the century sprint in 11.7 seconds. Its roof is quicker, taking 9.5 seconds to drop. It is priced at $130,900.


Need something bigger, brawnier and available now? The Tiguan SUV from VW comes with outputs of 150bhp or 220bhp. The former engine (launched at the show) has cylinder cut-off to conserve fuel, while the latter can be found in the R-Line variant, which has adaptivecruise control and dynamic chassis control. Prices start at $162,900.


This is the estate version (pictured) of Volvo's award-winning S90 sedan. It is also the sleekest full-sized wagon Volvo has ever made. Stowage is not as vast as in previously angular wagons from the Swedish marque, but passengers get as much comfort as in the S90. Prices start at $224,999 for the T5.