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SEAT Ibiza ST Review


Top Gayer Awards 2011



2011 has been quite a year for the automotive industry; we’ve seen some pretty impressive models launched and (super lucky for us) had the pleasure of driving them too!

And so… in true flare we present to you our best of the best in the Top Gayer Awards 2011…



We love a hatchback here at Top Gayer, just the thought of a compact, sporty little run-around takes us all back to our younger days, the cruise, the chase, the car parks… those were the days… and where there were some very strong contenders this year, for us the best in show has to be the Vauxhaul Astra Eco Flex. A pleasure to drive and with more lights on the dash then a nightclub the Astra Eco Flex is a boys wet dream. 






Our choice for city car of the year was an easy one, the KIA Picanto. This little super-mini is perfect for city living, 5 door, spacious and still as cute as ever, KIA have impressed and with the top-end model at under 8K the Picanto is an absolute bargain!







The Toyota Yaris is a lovely car, that’s the best word to describe it, it’s just lovely. We were very impressed with the 2011 Yaris, it is without doubt not only one of Toyota's best sellers, but also one of the most fun super-mini's on the market, and it’s just become our favourite super-mini to boot. With its new bigger bulkier frame it's not just the Yaris body that's grown, so has its appeal and the audience to which it's aimed at.  The new Yaris on test was amazing! With more acres of airy space inside than Jodie Marsh's head and containing far less plastic - the Yaris is our top choice for 2011.





This year’s best Saloon has to be the Volvo S60R, why? I hear you ask, well quite simply because it’s the best. We were very excited about this car coming through – dramatically smooth lines, excellent performance and a pretty impressive interior makes the S60R the best all rounder for us and because it’s a Volvo you know that you could quite happily drive it through a wall and carry on un-scathed… (Please Note: Top Gayer and its partners neither recommend nor condone driving through walls, please don’t do it, its just silly) 






France… land of fine wines, gourmet food, landmark meccano and this year’s great estate car it would seem. I know, honestly we weren’t expecting it either but the 508 Estate from the clever beans at Peugeot just seems to have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that transforms an estate car from a boring oversized shopping bag to handcrafted Louis Vuitton luggage… we know which you’d prefer you brand aware monsters. Its’ a nice drive, good performance and handling, spacious with a nice interior. Cést Chic… Bravo Peugeot!






We know, we know… what are the chances of ever driving one of these? Let alone owning one… but come on… It’s just beautiful! Fortunately (for us anyway) earlier this year we were given one to test-drive by the wonderful people at Audi (I say test drive, it was more lived-in for a week). This is possibly our favourite Audi of 2011 because it was definitely the most memorable.  The powerhouse that is the RS5 is sheer driving pleasure and with looks to die for our winner this year deservers its title hands down.






They say big is beautiful, and they don’t come much bigger than the cars in this class, fortunately our winner this year is both. In April we were invited by Chevrolet to test drive the new Captivia in the beautiful surroundings of the Austrian Alps, and what a test-drive it turned out to be! Unlike many other 4X4’s the Captiva’s credentials hold out, its handling on surfaces as tough as Snow and Ice, its comfort and overall driving experience make the Chevrolet Captiva our best in show for 4X4 of the year. 






If there’s one thing we know all about its luxury, it may be stereotypical but more often than not the desire to own the best of everything is hardwired into us at birth. So as you can imagine this was a tough choice for us, this happens to be one of those categories with a lot of crossovers, e.g. the majority of performance cars are kitted out to the max inside as well as being beasts in the engine department, so how do we judge? Well luckily an acute ability to judge is also something that comes built-in to the average gay man, so in the end we simply decided to choose the model which we could happily live in if needed to. This makes our choice a lot easier as the winner is nothing short of spectacularly gorgeous inside and out, with more gadgets, gizmos and impressive little extras than you can shake a stick at. In 2011 we’ve found the AUDI A7 unbeatable in its class.  






This Year Top Gayer went all green (in a non-clashy way) for a series of reviews on the latest eco-friendly cars to hit our shores. Now… admittedly some of our test-drives in this category had at best, ‘shaky’ green credentials, that’s not to say that they weren’t nice cars because many were. But, because we at Top Gayer love mother Earth we felt it only fair to pick the car best suited to preserving our planet for the generations of gays to come… So our winner this year has to be the Volvo C30 DRIVe, Ultra low emissions, 74.3MPG on a combined cycle and start-stop as standard.  Most importantly, the C30 DRIVe performs as a normal hatch too, making eco fun with the reliability and safety of Volvo making the C30 DRIVe our favourite Eco of 2011.






The pulling power award goes to the car that we think gives our readers the edge when towing other cars… not really, obviously this award is all about impressing other people, namely those you would like to get to know better… We think that anyone would find it hard to resist you if you were driving this sexy beast, which is no doubt what they’ll call you when you’re spotted cruising around town in the CLS, everything about it just oozes sex appeal, there may be more expensive status symbols out there but honestly… you can keep your Continental and your Phantom, this is the one for us.






Another special award from the Top Gayer team is the “GRRR” award, now what exactly is “GRRR” I hear you ask, well, quite simply it’s the feeling of power and control you get when you slip into the driving seat of something special and for us this year it’s the Infinity FX, this beautiful SUV creates the perfect balance of a high performance and luxury SUV with lavish lashings of “GRRR” that only an Infinity can instil. GRRR… just GRRR!







Finally we come to our ultimate favourite car of 2011 and the winner needs little introduction, the overall experience of driving the Mercedes CLS is unbeaten by any other car of 2011. It is quite simply the best car we’ve had the pleasure of hosting, an unmatched perfect blend of super-fine luxury, performance and beauty, the CLS has rolled off a German production line and into our hearts. Mercedes really have out done themselves with this excellent example of top-notch craftsmanship and engineering, from the second you glide into the CLS (you must glide into this car, nothing less will do) you feel at home and at one with your car. An extensive and highly impressive extras list makes the CLS something rather special. Visually it’s stunning, each line and curve blends seamlessly, not an awkward angle in sight, it’s sure to impress anyone who sees (or is lucky enough) to ride in this beautiful creation. Now we at Top Gayer would never encourage our readers to make reckless purchase decisions… let’s face it you probably don’t need encouraging anyway, but if you want to go top of the range and have a spare £120,000 knocking about then go… buy it… buy it now! Then call us, because we are at your command you sexy beast!!


“Rugged” Passat Alltrack – For the off-road businessman

Volkswagen has today released the first images of the new Passat Alltrack. Making its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show next week, the new Passat Alltrack is based on the popular and versatile Passat Estate.

But hold on just one minute, this is no ordinary Passat Estate… the Alltrack adds 4MOTION four-wheel drive and a raised ride height that give it greater agility off-road. Now for the adventurous businessman, say the type who consider fields as a genuinely viable route to work, this is excellent work, bravo!

VW have also gone to town on the Alltrack, stylish body enhancements provide some protection from scrapes when covering rough terrain, including stainless steel-look front and rear underbody protection panels and flared side sills, matt chrome roof rails, window surrounds, grille and exterior mirror casings. The suspension is raised to increase ground clearance from 135 to 165 mm, which also improves the ramp breakaway angle, “significant when crossing the crest of a hill” say VW, which is no doubt a constant obstacle on the morning school run.

In the UK, the Passat Alltrack will be available as a 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS with six-speed manual gearbox or a 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS with six-speed DSG transmission. Standard equipment will include Alcantara upholstery, 2 Zone electronic climate control, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, MDI iPod connectivity, Bluetooth telephone preparation, 18-inch alloys, an ice pick, snow boots and the national flag of your choice to plant in your conquered peak. (I might have added those last three)

Retailers in the UK are expected to start taking orders for the new car in April, with first deliveries scheduled for July so should you ever wish to take your Estate mountain climbing, this is definitely the car for you.  


How to make a mid-life crisis more fun - The Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet… ‘With innovative folding roof’

 Ok so you’ve hit 40, you’re wearing red converse with jeans and an open floral shirt (to work) and you’re chasing men a lot younger than you should be. You’re very nearly there. There’s just one thing missing… a Porsche. Now if history has taught us anything it’s that young men love flash cars and if you’re hoping to bag yourself a boyfriend 20 years your junior then you need to up your game.

Fortunately the new 911 Carrera Cabriolet is the answer to your prayers! If the rear-mounted, flat-six engines offering efficient power and outstanding dynamic performance (350 hp 3.4-litre and 400 hp 3.8-litre) wasn’t enough, the classic shape of the 911 has been transformed to include what Porsche are calling “an innovative folding roof” which will most definitely impress the River-Island clad lad your currently chasing.

The 911 Cabriolet naturally shares its new, high tech aluminum-steel body with the Coupe, and the convertible extends this innovation to its all-new, unique hood. When raised, the design of the hood ensures the iconic 911 roof line is retained in its entirety. Intelligent lightweight design, including the use of magnesium in the hood frame, ensures reduced weight for increased responsiveness, lower fuel consumption and greater comfort. As is the case with the Coupe model, the new 911 Cabriolet is significantly lighter overall than its predecessor.

But that’s all just ‘detail’… parading your latest catch through the local town centre with the roof down is a sure way to prove to your friends and family that ‘you’ve still got it’ whatever it is, (Let’s face it you’re no longer sure) but regardless… you… will… look…cool. Hopefully. 

Should you be concerned that one day your new found love will try to flee, then don’t be! Fitted to every 911 Carrera Cabriolet is a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), of which the possible uses are endless.

Anyway… The 911 Carrera Cabriolet models go on sale in the UK on March 3 2012. The 911 Carrera Cabriolet is priced from £79,947, the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet from £89,740. 


Lexus unveils the new GS 250

In an extension of its luxury GS range, Lexus have announced that a V6 version of the new GS450h will be released in the UK next year. The GS 250 is powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine with D-4S direct port injection and Dual VVT-i intelligent valve timing. Maximum output is 206bhp at 6,400rpm and peak torque of 253Nm is delivered at 4,800rpm, giving the car’s 0-62mph time a boost to just 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 142mph. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 31.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 207g/km.

The new model has a more spacious interior with more head and legroom for rear seat passengers.

Offered with a range of new technology features and improved dynamics, including a 12.3-inch multimedia screen – the largest on the market, exciting! It will be available with a new S-flow air conditioning system with nanoe air purifying technology, and a new Mark Levinson audio system with up to 17 speakers.

It’s a GS450 only sexier.


Easy Audi…

Audi have revealed a new Sportback version of the A1 with 5 doors!

And? I hear you cry… well it’s actually quite an achievement. Featuring “Full five-seat capability and a slight increase in head and shoulder room” and all of this despite an “identical exterior footprint” which is essentially like gouging more out of the inside a pumpkin just to cram another candle in there, or in this case two more doors and a little more headroom. It all makes perfect sense if you think about it.

Oh I almost forgot, the roof can be painted a contrasting colour – a Sportback exclusive…

That’s about it really, apart from that it’s an Audi A1. Just £560 more expensive.

Thanks Audi.