2012 made sure that this is going to be a great year to be on and off the road. The last year brought with it quite a few stunners and surprises.

Stripped of hype, meet the soul of 86 on DriveME.

The once in a decade rebirth of the Range Rover was perhaps the biggest of them all, but the title of the most sensational entry goes to the Toyota 86 that marked the return of the sporting spirit to the sedate lines of Toyota. Equally talked about (in a manner of speaking, coz nothing could have got the share of words as the cult-like 86 did!) in the upper echelons was the new Porsche Boxster S, which almost challenged the sacred exaltation of the new 911 itself. Cadillac set a path of wildfire for the ATS all the way from Nürburgring to Yas, hoping to smoke out a few Beemer 3s in the long run, but what got burnt in the blueprint seems to be a good bit of legroom and boot space. Is the ATS’s performance good enough to drive all that hype is yet to be seen – coz 2012’s newbie 335i was one of my top drives and all I can hope for the new Caddy’s sake is that its burning ambition ends up within a quarter mile! Read the BMW 335i review.

Fully worthy of its badge, this Boxster S was one of the best drives ever!

Towards the end of the year, even as Nissan and Fiat were busy throwing slush and rude words at each other’s electric cars, here we were hopefully and reverently witnessing the storming in of a future car – the Fisker Karma. Coming back to the earlier slushy squabble, I quite agree with their line of thought – that “ugliness is probably one of the worst forms of pollution.” The Fisker Karma is far from both the sins – ugliness and pollution.

Not just electric... the Fisker Karma is electrifying!

Now, if there is any revamp that deserves to be called “all-new” in the true sense of the word, it is the 2013 Ford Escape. Back from both a salon and a spa, with its “mommy couldn’t recognize you” styling, the Escape looks geared up to shake up the entry level SUV segment.

Ford Escape has taken 'thinking outside the box' very seriously...

All these four cars I drove have been sensational 2012 entrants in their own right, and that is why I have picked them to start the New Year with all cylinders roaring. Five sensational stories back to back, as fast as I can type and upload… The everyman’s sports coupe, the Boxster that finally wears its legacy on its sleeve, the super car of the future and the Ford that escaped its box, finally! So which is the fifth one?

First ever Mini in its sporty line with a six-gear automatic trans

As 2012 finally retired, I went to bed cuddling a Tasmanian devil – or should I say an English bulldog? Anyway, still alive and awake in 2013, I should tell you the hotly hatched story of the new Mini John Cooper Works hatch with its first ever 6-speed automatic.

But first, it’s time to strip down the 86 of all the hype and halo, and see it bare its sporty soul… Buckle up mates!

Five reviews to start 2013 with fireworks was last modified: February 22nd, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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