So, 2013 turned out to be a humdinger for cars.
The new year promises to be pretty exciting, too. Here's just a few things that we're looking forward to with baited breath...
100 years of Maserati
2013 saw big celebrations for Aston Martin and Lamborghini among others, but in 2014 it’s Maserati’s turn.
The company has been hammering together formidable road and race cars since World War I, and have countless achingly gorgeous designs and impressive race wins on their CV.
As you might imagine, they’re planning a party or two.
There’ll be a huge gathering in Modena in September – why not pick up a cheap old Bora and tag along…? (Because it’ll bankrupt you, that’s why.)
The days of whining about Porsche SUVs are way behind us. The Cayenne exists – nay, thrives – and we’ve all accepted that.
So, the Macan is a thoroughly sensible idea: a scaled-down Cayenne for people who want a practical family car, but don’t want to drive around in something that’s as big as their living room. Also, the Macan Turbo will have 400bhp, which is loads.
Back in 2007, Citroen showed us the peculiar C-Cactus. It looked like some kind of madman’s notion of a motorised lozenge. In a good way.
Now, after various tweaks (well, a total change of pretty much everything), its spirit endures in 2014’s forthcoming Cactus production model. Gape at the floating C-pillar! Gasp at the ‘Airbump’ protective inserts in the doors! Gawp at the lack of buttons on the dash!
Forget the cheap throwaway-ness of the old Xsara Picasso, this is the future of Gallic family transport.
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
The Jaguar F-Type was one of the most exciting cars of 2013. It looks beautiful, it sounds like the apocalypse, it goes like a train… wait, no, not a train – a very fast car, that’s what it goes like. And next year, we get to jump up and down all over again when the coupe version arrives.
With the fixed roof comes underbonnet tweakery to release more horses, and that sloping tail really is very pretty indeed, isn’t it? Nice one, Jaguar. It kind of is a new E-Type.
New New New MINI
You keep buying ’em, they’ll keep churning ’em out. The Mini range now extends to Coupe, Clubman, Roadster, Convertible, Countryman and Paceman, all orbiting around the flagship hatch.
And said hatch has been revised (again) for 2014 – it’s wider, more high-tech, and has a more sensible speedo, positioned where you’re actually likely to look at it.
Excitingly, it’s underpinned by BMW’s new UKL1 front-wheel drive architecture, which we’re also going to see underneath the first ever BMW-badged front-drive hatchbacks next year. So, if you’re not a fan of the redesign, you can always opt for the fundamentally similar Beemer instead – although I think the New New New MINI looks pretty cool. What do you reckon?
Mini-SUVs are seldom middle-of-the-road – they’re usually either inspired or thoroughly depressing. Thankfully for Ford, the new EcoSport looks as if it’ll be the former.
Based on the current Fiesta, it’s been stretched in all directions to make it more family-friendly, although it still maintains the cosseting small car feel by carrying a lot of Fiesta bits over to the interior.
The styling is pretty bold – very, very American at the nose – and the tailgate-mounted spare wheel is already splitting opinion. I rather like it, it looks purposeful and utilitarian, which is what this car’s about.
Best not to ask which ‘sport’ the name is referring to, though.
This is effectively the new M3 – BMW’s naming strategy shake-up means that two-door models have even numbers and four or five-doors have odd ones.
In the past, the 3-series could be had as a saloon, coupe, convertible and estate. However, the two-door coupe version of the new 3-series is called the 4-series. Make sense?
OK, forget the semantics and look at the car. The M4 will be powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six, making a radical break from its predecessor – fans are coming to terms with the idea of turbocharged M-cars now, but the move back from the V8 of the old car to a six-pot like it used to have is key: it’s about usable power, but also efficiency. (Turbocharging helps with this, of course.)
But you won’t buy an M4 to be frugal. You’ll buy it because it has 425bhp – more than the 414bhp of the outgoing V8, incidentally – and will run the 0-62mph sprint in 4.1 seconds. And it’s stuffed full of race-derived tech. Oh, and if you’re desperate for the M3 badge, they’ll be selling the car as a four-door saloon as well…
A new Lambo is always an exciting event, but it’s a little sad to be waving farewell to the Gallardo. After all, it was the car that transformed the company, with Audi’s quality control helping to harness Lamborghini’s intrinsic mayhem to offer an accessible junior supercar.
They’ve sold over 14,000 of them since the model was launched in 2003, but the Gallardo has served its time now and will be replaced in 2014. The new model will almost certainly be named ‘Huracan’, despite widespread rumours that it would be called ‘Cabrera’.
Like the Gallardo, it’ll be powered by a V10, so as not to step on the bigger-brother Aventador’s toes.
Further details will be released before the year is out, but two things we can say for certain: it will be eye-wateringly quick, and it will look utterly brutal.
(spy shots via MotorAuthority)
No, you’re not the first person to think "Ha ha, ‘e-up!’ sounds like a cheerful South Yorkshire greeting!". Sorry.
Comedy moniker aside, this is a significant little thing. Volkswagen’s obtusely-punctuated city car has proved to be something of a hit already – it’s solid and well-packaged, and not all that expensive for something so comparatively high-end – and the addition of usable electric power could be a real coup for VW.
Renault has been notably struggling with selling electric cars (residuals are terrible for a start, you can buy a used 2012 Renault Fluence for around £7,000 now – that’s an £18,000 loss in a year!), but VW reckons its boffins have got the formula nailed with the E-up!
Taking a proven chassis, they’ve bolted in an 81bhp electric motor up front and an 18.7kWh lithium ion battery pack in the rear, which should be good for around 75-100 miles in summer (or 50-75 in winter) between charges.
Crucially, you can buy the car outright rather than leasing the battery as Renault buyers do, which makes the car rather more expensive initially but might make a lot more sense in the long run. Something to keep an eye on, anyway. It could be the car that drags all-electric city cars into the mainstream.
There will be many more new cars to enjoy in 2014, naturally. But as our selection here illustrates, it’s going to be a heck of a year…