2016 promises to be a vintage year for new cars. There is some truly fabulous new metal on its way and I, for one, can hardly wait to see them in the metal.2 of the 7 cars have already been featured on these pages in recent weeks and so will come as no surprise. The Jaguar F-Pace is the new car I am most looking forward to seeing this year. I’ve blogged about it here. And here. Probably nuff said.The Alfa Romeo Giulia is second on my list of must see cars new for 2016. It’s an Alfa, it’s back to rear wheel drive, and it’s supposed to be Alfa back at its best, finally living up to its hype and its heritage. What’s not to like?
So with positions 1 & 2 sewn up what about the other 5 cars?
Fiat 124 Spider
The Fiat 124 spider revives a classic name but is based on the mechanicals of the Mazda MX-5. Mazda and Fiat did a deal when the car was designed and agreed to share the development costs. Originally Fiat were intending to use the MX-5 as a basis for a revitalised Alfa Spider. However, the plan is now to spin the Alfa Spider off the platform of the Giulia so the Fiat 124 Spider got the gig instead. Hopefully, there will be an Abarth version to come.
Given its underpinnings we know it should be fabulous to drive. I hope it’s better looking than the MX-5, its only weak link. There will be more powerful engines too, so well worth looking forward to.
Aston Martin DB11
If you saw the last Bond film, Spectre, you’ll have seen his new ride: the DB10. Only 10 of those were made. So you cant have one. However if you have around £150K burning a hole in your pocket you could have its big brother the DB11. Designed to be a successor to the DB9 the DB11 moniker is meant to signal how much of a leap the new car will be over the old.
A new 5.2V12 engine is being designed for launch to replace the current ageing 6.0 V12 with input from the nice people at AMG. Mercedes owns a 5% stake in Aston Martin as part of an engine supply and technology deal. This deal means that the AMG twin turbo V8 will probably make its way into Astons at some stage.
Land Rover Discovery 5
Land Rover’s Discovery 5 has been hinted at in the Discovery vision concept and we have seen the Freelander replacement which has been launched as a Discovery Sport in much the way the Range Rover Sport is a 3/4 version of the full fat Range Rover. So we have a very good idea of what to expect.
The current Disco, though long in the tooth having been originally launched in 2004, is one of my favourite SUVs. It’s extremely capable, unpretentious, and still manages to be properly cool. Unfortunately it is ridiculously heavy, which means its uncompetitive on CO2 emissions and fuel economy. Were it not for those two things I probably would have bought one years ago. Given that it is one of the cars in my ideal garage I can’t wait to see how they will update this modern icon. Unfortunately, those doors almost certainly wont make it into production….
You may be noticing a bit of an SUV theme here. The SUV is taking Europe by storm. Autocar Pro reported that SUVs were the largest selling market segment in Europe for the first time in 2015. as a result everyone is trying to get into the act. Maserati is particularly keen since it’s trying to grow its market share and profitability. Joining the fastest growing market segment is a no brainer.
Maserati have been talking about an SUV now for nearly 13 years. It first showed an SUV concept called the Kubang in 2003. It was ugly. It never got built. Thak God…. They showed another Kubang concept in 2011. It was gorgeous. It should have been built immediately. Now 5 years after showing us that concept they’ve finally got round to building the blessed thing and it should launch this year.
It should be worth the wait. Maseratis of recent vintage have been exquisite and beautiful things, with an effortless exotic aura about them. The Quattroporte is ridiculously good looking and the Ghibli equally so. So if anybody can make an SUV that looks gorgeous, Maserati is that outfit. Bring it.
The final car is also an SUV. Surprise surprise. It’s the Ford Edge. I confess I am genuinely excited about this car. Having seen it in its natural habitat in the good ol’ US of A, I have long wondered why in the world Ford have never brought this car to the UK.
It’s a solid looking thing in a no nonsense kind of way, a bit like the Discover 4. It won’t be as slick as some of the SUVs above but then it shouldn’t be anywhere near as pricey either. If Ford can get the pricing on this thing right, and address the fact that Europeans have higher expectations of interior quality than Americans (blame VW for upping everyone’s game on interiors) I reckon they could have a real hit on their hands. Really looking forward to seeing it over here.