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!!

The SLK Goes From One Extreme to Another

Mercedes are heading to Frankfurt this year with two new variations on the all-new SLK roadster.  The extreme out and out performance focused SLK 55 AMG and the frugal yet fun SLK 250CDi - the first time the product has seen a deisel engine.

The SLK 55 AMG focuses it's energies on style and the strength of promoting the AMG sporting technologies and performance.  The 5.5litre engine takes this little pocket rocket to an extreme most supercars are boasting, reaching 0-62mph in a mere 4.6seconds and yet still gaining kudos for doing above 33 miles to the gallon.  Twin this power with the very familiar stylings from the AMG camp and you have a sculpted beauty that looks like it means business.

Kicking out 422hp means the new SLK 55 AMG beats it's direct competitors hands down, while still retuning an impressive 195g/km of CO2  emissions. I want one.


Moving from one extreme to another, Merc have also released details of the first ever SLK Diesel - the SLK 250CDi.  Returning over 56mpg and coming equipped as standard with a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearbox, the new SLK deisel is a very exciting car for Merc.

Not only is this an excersice to boast impressive fuel consumption, but also an example that not all economical cars need to be sluggish or boring.  Not only do you get the great feeling of driving one of the most iconic two-seater hard-top roadsters, but you won't lose out on any of the performance because you've chosen the economic route as the SLK 250CDi professes 204hp taking you from 0-62mph in just 6.7seconds.  Lovely.

Black is Back

Mercedes have brought back the Black Series range and the C Class is looking slicker than ever.

With the Coupé being launched and completing the C Class Line-up, the only natural thing for Meredes to do next is to take it to the extreme.  Superior performance and style, the new C 63 AMG Black Series brings an all new AMG Claim to the table too - Driving Performance like no other AMG model.

With a 0-62mph time of just 4.2 seconds, this is the most powerful C Class of all time, boasting 517hp and technologies used in motorsport, with the high driving dynamics to match.  As well as all this power the C Class comes with upgraded suspensions and breaking systems, which I'm assuming you'll need to tame the aggressive nature of the Black Series

So it sounds nice and will perform well it seems, but the other very important attraction to any Black Series is just how mean the car looks.  Designed to strike fear into the most innocent of motirists on the road, the C Class BS has a powerful stance with it's oversized black front and rear air vents and additional vents on the blown out wheel arches.  This car means business, and is certainly not for the feint hearted.

Underlining the AMG insignia is a subtle 'Black series' engraving, contasting the absolute monster this car is, however representing the pure essence of what a Black Series is about - pure performance with a whole host of class and an emotional drive.

Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster

Following the success of the SLS AMG Mercedes have of course followed suit with a Roadster edition. We recently posted a photo set of the Roadster in action being tested in many conditions, covered in blacks and looking just as sexual.

Rich had a little play in the coupé on thursday and now Merc have released official information and photos of the Roadster for your enjoyment. So what have we found out?

Well the SLS Roadster will have a fabric roof that operates in just 11seconds up to speeds of around 30mph which is perfect for round town should a sudden downpour occur (yeah because popping into town in your SLS is what you'd do day to day!!)

Onto performance and the SLS Roadster boasts 571hp reaching 0-62mph in just 3.8seconds. A rather impressive 24 miles to the gallon makes the SLS Roadster more of an everyday super car than most, just don't expect to fit much shopping inside the boot.

What you could do however is utilise the mobile Internet capability and Merc's signature COMMAND infotainment system to buy the aforementioned shopping at Tesco and have it delivered, while you drive off into the country and test the greatness that is the SLS AMG.

So there's a few highlights to keep you keen, and here's a few piccies...

Mercedes Concept A-Class

If the next A-class looks like this, then BMW, Audi and Lexus have a lot to worry about.  The small premium car market is a popular one and is a key tool in introducing new drivers to the brand.

Concept A-Class is full of aggressive lines that suggest a more subtle nature at heart and inspired by aviation, promotes a very kinetic flow to the body.  The grille has an explosive effect from its signature star centerpiece, reflected in the small dotted detailing within the wheels.  The lights also feature a 'starry sky' effect within and the daytime running lights are shaped in a winged fashion carrying the theme of flight.

Powering this beautiful concept is a new 2.0litre BlueEFFICIENCY engine which twinned with the dual-clutch transmission kicks out 210hp.  Quick, compact and classy.

Inside hosts a first for the compact sector, a radar based collision system that acts to prevent you from having an accident, with features like Brake Assist and visual and acoustic warnings.  Other technology includes integrated smartphone and a 'COMMAND Online' system, all surrounded by magenta lit dials and cream suede lining.

Mercedes-Benz are back in the game when talking about the design of cars today, and it shows.

C 63... AMG

Mercedes new C Class Coupé gets the AMG treatment and looks just as aggressively styled as the rest of the AMG line-up.

Set to launch in Summer 2011, the new AMG Coupé features high performance from Mercedes signature 6.3-litre V8 engine and the characteristic handling and driving that the AMG brand is known so well for.  Reaching 0-62 in a superfast 4.5 seconds, the C 63 is quick - set to take the lead in its segment.

It isn't all about performance however, the C 63 adopts all the latest technology.  Including a 7-speed automatic transmission with a new power steering pump, saving fuel and reaching a rather respectable 23.5mpg, especially for an AMG derivative.

If that doesn't excite you, Mercedes offer a performance upgrade!?!  Yet more power, bust still achieving the same fuel consumption.  The performance upgrade increases the bhp from 457 to 487bhp and reduces that 0-62mph time to 4.4 seconds, all inspired by using technologies from Merc's 'Coupé du jour' the SLS... what more could you possibly ask for...?

Very smart...

smarts' latest limited edition is called 'nightorange', and I'm sure we can all see why.

Featuring the most vibrant orange and sinister jet black two tone bodywork, the limited edition sees the city car acquire some 15" three-spoke alloys in black to compliment the door mirrors and grille.  Upon further inspection the lights reveal a titanium colour inset and a subtle bade displayed by the door mirrors lets others know, that yours is not just any old city car.

Moving inside and the smart gets racy wearing a black leather and fabric mix, finished off nicely with orange stitching and complimentary racing stripes throughout the seats and dash elements.

With the choice of an optional 6.5" touch screen with an upgraded stereo, the nightorange is a limited edition that looks good and sounds great too.

But you better be quick a total of just 235 nightorange edition smarts will be made in both coupé and convertible configs, available in a choice of 999cc  petrol engines, the 71bhp micro hybrid drive, which returns an impressive 65.7mpg (combined) or a 84bhp turbo.  Starting from £9,995, the nightorange will be available from retailers across the UK.


Mercedes Bring in a new Class of Coupé

Merc have produced some rather stunning cars recently, and they aren't stopping either.  Presenting the new C Class Coupé, a totally new C Class to celebrate 125 years of automotive for the brand, and bringing in a new market for classic compact coupés.

The new coupé will feature all the technology and character from it's saloon and convertible derivatives, but in sporty and compact styling, making the C Class portfolio a very attractive offering - easing new market buyers into the experience of owning a Mercedes coupé.

For me, it's a fairly obvious move for the German premium manufacturer, especially as the Saloon and Convertible styling, with that big front 'dam' grill lends itself so well to a solid, high shouldered waistline merging into that pinched tailgate.

Truly beautiful and certainly a choice that will see Audi and BMW shaking in their boots as it gives them more competition, in a trend that customers are loving at the moment.  The new C Class Coupé will be showcased at Geneva this March.