Poll: Which of the German sports cars would you rather have?

There was a time when the choice of a german sports car was simple – you either got the Porsche 911 or, well, you looked elsewhere (probably Italy). The best Audi could offer you was a fast Quattro model or, later, a super-Golf called the TT; BMW dabbled with the M1 and Z8, but those cars really just made you run faster for the competition; even mighty Mercedes hadn’t really offered anything tasty since the gull-wing 300SL. But oh, my, how the times have changed – now we (or at least those with big money) are spoilt for choice with these great four options. So, which one is your poison?

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Look-A-Like: Jag XF and…

“Look-A-Like” is a new column which is meant as a lighthearted account of all those “I feel like I’ve seen this before…” moments. Today I had just such a feeling when I saw the first interior shot of the upcoming Jaguar XF. There was just something about those central air vents and their relationship to the infotainment system that felt familiar.

Jaguar-XF-00002

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Unpopular opinion: Jeep Cherokee

The new Jeep Cherokee has gotten a lot of flack for its challenging looks, but it’s one of those cars the Brits call a “Marmite car” (Marmite being the yeast spread you put on your toast) – you either love it or hate it. In fact, most of the motoring press seems to hate the split front headlights and chamfered take on the traditional Jeep grille, while at the same time claiming the rest of the car is bland.

Personally, I disagree – I really like the looks of the Cherokee, especially the Trailhawk off-road version:

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Top 5: Concept cars in Geneva

#5 (joint): Nissan Sway

Nissan-Sway-4

Why is it here? Because it promises a genuinely dynamic-looking Nissan Micra to rival the Fiesta and Mazda2, because even when diluted for production it should still look better than most other cars in the class, and because it should help us forget the awful current-generation Micra.… Continue Reading …

Tough act to follow: Hyundai Elantra (UPDATED)

5th gen Hyundai Elantra

For many successful manufacturers it’s easy to point to their breakout car – Ford has its Model T, VW has the Beatle and Golf, Toyota the Corolla. What about Hyundai, currently the world’s 4th largest automaker (along with Kia)? There are a few candidates: there is the 2nd gen Santa Fe, as well as the 6th gen Sonata, but for me it’s the current (5th gen) Elantra that really stands out. While the previous generations of the other two cars were still pretty good, the current Elantra was a giant leap over its dowdy predecessor. With a giant injection of style the car went from an also-ran to close to the top of the US compact class, jumping over cars such as the Corolla and Civic in tests if not quite in sales. Still, as the chart below shows the sales of the 5th gen grew quickly and peaked at double that for the 4th gen model.… Continue Reading …

Top 5: Production cars in Geneva

#5: Renault Kadjar

Renault_Kadjar-front-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015

Why is it here? Because it’s based on successful Nissan X-Trail/Rouge, because it manages to look even better than the already-handsome donor car, and because it should help us forget the sad joke that was the Renault Koleos (European sales in 2014: fewer than 7,500)

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The sad case of the Renault Laguna

Just the other day I caught myself trying to remember what the current Renault Laguna looked like, and I couldn’t. At some point I even started asking myself if there ever had been a 3rd generation Laguna! Don’t think of me as a badge snob, as I was really fond of the 2nd gen Laguna (both the liftback and the estate), it’s just that the 3rd gen is anything but memorable. And the European sales confirm this: it barely sold more than 16,000 units in 2014, and was outsold twofold by the Citroen C5/DS5 duo, almost threefold by the Peugeot 508, and almost tenfold by the VW Passat. Renault better pull out all stops if the 4th gen wants to enjoy even a fraction of the success the first two generations enjoyed in their heyday!

Top 5: Geneva Sports/Supercars

#5: Koenigsegg Regera

Why is it here? Because it has more than 1,500hp from its hybrid drivetrain, because it can reach 400km/h almost 3 seconds faster than the Porsche 918 reaches 300km/h, and because it comes from a small swedish company whose name means “knife’s edge”

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Blast from the past: Porsche 932 Panamera II

The other day I alluded to the Porsche 989 Panamera concept, the stillborn 4-door Porsche was considering in the early 1990s. Although that car was never officially shown to the public, its existence was a well-known fact among Porsche-files. What is less well-known is that after it ceased developing the 989, Porsche produced another concept, the 932 Panamera II, which by the looks of it aimed for a more spacious rear seat and boot.

Creating-The-Porsche-Sedan-1988-Porsche-989-Panamera-1991-Porsche-932-1987-928-Studie-and-1968-911-4-Door-1

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Demand for Lagonda Taraf and why Porsche canned the 989 four-door

To no-one’s surprise the Lagonda (ok, Aston Martin) Taraf will be sold in the UK, Europe, and not just in the Middle East as the company originally planned. This makes me wonder why did Aston Martin not make this car in the first place, rather than the unloved, too-small Rapide?… Continue Reading …