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Foreign cars we wish we’d got

  1. The only front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, V12 car Japan produces, the Century is a mighty lump of modern-retro-expensive brilliance. Looking like a monster Nissan Cedric, Toyota’s home-market flagship gets a 276bhp, 5.0-litre V12 and has been produced in Japan since 1967, with its only major redesign in ‘97. The doors are fully electric, the suspension courtesy of air-ride, most are ordered with wool trim (quieter than leather) and have lace curtains in the rear instead of tints. Timewarptastic. Cost? Just £61,000. In Japan, at least.

    Words: Tom Ford
    Pictures: manufacturers 

    This feature first appeared in the October 2011 issue of Top Gear magazine

  2. Lucky foreigners can buy 4x4 versions of BMW and Merc saloons and estates, cars only available here in rear-wheel drive. Need an SUV? Think again. The US also gets the 335is, that sits between the regular 335 and an M3.

  3. In Australia and the US, buyers can choose to upgrade their CT200h to F-Sport spec; an aggressive bodykit, plus unique suspension. There’s also ‘strategic strengthening’ throughout. So why can’t we have it, then?

  4. The little FJ SUV has been on sale in the US since 2006, and we want it. It ticks zeitgeisty boxes: suicide rear doors, a hose-down rubber interior, blocky, Tonka Toy looks. And FJs sell for $25k. Or a paltry £15,700 in proper money.

  5. The rowdy E60 M5 - the 500bhp, 5.0-litre V10 - was offered in the US with a six-speed manual, while we Brits were stuck with the seven-speed paddle ‘box. The saving grace? To prevent abuse, the USA DSC couldn’t be disengaged.

  6. A square-arched homologation special, the 1989 Rallye was VW’s version of a mini Audi Quattro. With 4WD and a supercharged G60 engine, the Rallye attained cult status, but the UK never allowed itself to partake. Boo!

  7. Four-wheel-drive, V6, 201bhp versions of the Seat Leon (called the 2.8 VR6 24v Cupra 4) were available in mainland Europe in the early years of the 21st century, but not offered in the UK. A cheap Golf R32? We missed you!

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