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Ford Bronco Image Credit: Supplied

Toyota Land Cruiser 300

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Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Image Credit: Supplied

Toyota Land Cruiser, one of the undisputed legends of off-roading, and one of the venerated nameplates, received a generational upgrade in 2021. The Land Cruiser 300, officially unveiled in June, has received several design, technology, and mechanical improvements over the Land Cruiser 200, which has been around since 2007. For the new Land Cruiser, Toyota adopted the new GA-F platform based on TNGA while keeping the frame structure. To further improve the traditional off-road performance, technologies have been adopted that leads to better basic suspension performance and improved road-holding performance through the adoption of the E-KDSS (Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. The SUV’s off-road performance is further aided by the adoption of the Multi-Terrain Monitor, which instantly displays obstacles as viewed from the driver's viewpoint as well as the Multi Terrain Select, which automatically judges the road surface and selects the best driving mode. A newly developed V6 twin-turbo engine has replaced the V8 that has traditionally powered the flagship model’s top variant. The petrol V6 churns out 415 horsepower and 650Nm of torque.

Ford Bronco

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Ford Bronco Image Credit: Supplied

After months of teasing and working up a frenzy among the brand’s off-roader fan base, Ford finally relaunched its historic Bronco nameplate this year. The new Bronco returns as the flagship of a new family of rugged Ford SUVs, with a classic two-door and a four-door version for the first time. The design is heritage inspired and fits the all-terrain profile of the new model. Aimed squarely at Stellantis’ iconic Jeep brand of 4x4s, the Bronco range has undergone extreme durability testing, and has been engineered under Ford’s new ‘Built Wild’ programme. Having tested it in the UAE, we can confirm that it lives up to Ford’s claims of segment-leading 4x4 capability, off-road performance and dependability. The Bronco comes with many powertrain options including a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 engine, a 2.3-litre EcoBoost, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost and a 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine, with different transmission options. Every Bronco comes with an independent front suspension, a rugged solid axle design at the rear featuring coil springs with five locating links for both strength and off-road control. Long-travel position-sensitive Bilstein dampers with end-stop control valves at every corner provides added off-road durability and reduced harshness. The first real threat to the Jeep Wrangler’s supremacy in a long time.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

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Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Image Credit: Supplied

Globally, the launch of the new Ford Bronco has rattled Jeep’s confidence like nothing else has done in the past several decades. And with an even more extreme Raptor variant of the Bronco in the works, Stellantis had to act. And the result is the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 – the most powerful Wrangler yet – which packs a potent 6.4-litre V 8 engine, delivering 470 horsepower and a whopping 637 Nm of torque. The Rubicon 392, which marks the return of production V8 to a factory-fit Wrangler engine bay, also promises greater off-road capability with greater approach and departure angles, suspension articulation, manoeuvrability and water wading capacity up to 825 mm. Upgraded frame rails, factory 2-inch (5 cm) lift, unique suspension geometry, heavy-duty brakes and FOX high-performance shocks help deliver improved on and off-road performance, handling and durability. Incidentally, this is the first V8 Wrangler ever to be launched in the Middle East, and is also the quickest, most powerful and off-road capable Jeep Wrangler in the brand’s history. Should be enough to keep the Bronco at bay until the Raptor is unleashed.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class Image Credit: Supplied

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the benchmark for luxury flagship saloons for decades. Technology features and creature comforts that you see in a new S-Class today are very likely the industry standard tomorrow. So, when Mercedes-Benz introduces its latest iteration of this iconic flagship saloon as the best ever S-Class and the most advanced car ever, it indeed points to a truly landmark motor car. And the all-new 2021 S-Class, which debuted in the UAE early this year, lives up to this reputation. With a short front overhang, a long wheelbase and a balanced rear overhang, the new S-Class boasts classic saloon proportions. The wide track adds to the car’s muscular stance. Positioned as a “personal wellness oasis”, the new S-Class cabin, according to the carmaker, has evolved into a “third place”, a refuge between home and workplace. All comfort-related aspects of the S-Class have improved in the front as well as the rear seats, providing a generous amount of space. Since most of the S-Class clients are known to occupy the rears seats, Mercedes-Benz has incorporated an extensive array of infotainment and comfort features for the rear passengers. The second generation of MBUX learn-capable system also made its debut in the new S-Class with up to five large screens with extensive options for personalisation and intuitive operation. A true flagship and an enduring benchmark.

Genesis GV 70

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Genesis GV70 Image Credit: Supplied

Over the past few years, Genesis, Hyundai Motor’s luxury arm, has been giving established premium automobile majors a run for their money with feature- and technology-packed luxury vehicles that with retail prices significantly lower than the industry average. After making a mark in the premium saloon category, Genesis tested the waters in the SUV category with its flagship GV80 last year. And this year saw its second SUV, the GV70, making its Middle East debut. The GV70 is the fifth model in the premium brand’s lineup, joining the G70, G80, and G90 saloons, as well as the GV80 flagship SUV. The GV70’s styling follows the brand’s design identity, with the familiar Crest Grille set lower than the quad headlamps, adding to the SUV’s athletic stance. In profile, a character line running along the side of the SUV and the sleek coupe-like roofline accentuate the GV70’s muscular, hunkered down look. The Sport model’s interior features exclusive colours and trim, including a sport steering wheel and carbon-fibre appointed consoles and doors, which are aimed at accentuating its dynamic image. Like all other Genesis models, the GV70 is based on a rear-wheel-drive platform. A credible alternative to German and American luxury SUVs.

Audi e-tron GT

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Audi e-tron GT Image Credit: Supplied

The electric vehicle is scene is hotting up, fast, with major German, American and British carmakers joining the EV party and giving Tesla a run for its money. The Audi e-tron GT, the Volkswagen Group’s latest weapon in its efforts to take on Tesla after the Porsche Taycan, made its official debut earlier this year, and dealerships in the Middle East started accepting orders for the RS e-tron GT in June 2021. While the e-tron SUV has been around for a while now, the GT is the first Audi that’s based on the J1 platform shared with the Taycan. The e-tron GT comes in two variants – the e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT. This also makes it the first electric Audi to wear the RS badge. With launch control and overboost, the e-tron GT produces up to 522 horsepower; the RS e-tron GT sends up to 637 horsepower to all four wheels. The quattro is capable of hiting 100kph from naught in just 4.1 while the RS does 0-100kph in 3.3 seconds, on a par with the V10-powered Audi R8 supercar’s acceleration figures. With a wide track and long wheelbase, the e-tron GT is lower and wider than the Audi A7 while being approximately the same length. Sporting an inverted Singleframe grille with honeycomb design elements and a flat greenhouse with sloping roofline, the e-tron GT’s design is unmistakably Audi.