Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet – a very handsome machine, exactly what you’d expect from a car based on the S-class Coupe. But herein lies the problem – by looking so much like the S-class Coupe, which itself was copied by the C-class Coupe, this car just does not look that special in a class that’s dominated by Bentley and Aston Martin.
Rolls-Royce Dawn – another car whose looks were entirely predictable, being based on the Ghost coupe. This time, however, the end product looks great, and its positioning makes much more sense than the uber-expensive Drophead Coupe. To me this is how the GT is a better-looking, “right-sized” version of the SLS.
SsangYong XLV-Air Concept – a new SsangYong concept is a great opportunity to once again ask the question: “Why does this brand still exist??”. In a world where we lose Saab, Pontiac and Rover it’s crazy to think that this company, once the maker of the “World’s Ugliest Car” (Rodius), still persists simply by making cars that are now not awful to look at. And that’s the best thing I can say about the XLV – it’s not awful…
Verdict: MISS (yet again…)
Porsche 911 – the facelift of the 911 is of the “blink and you’ll miss it” variety, and to these eyes makes the car look a bit less nice than the old version. But the biggest news is the new turbocharged engine, which has some fans jumping off buildings and others eating their nails in trepidation if it’ll be any good… Just don’t call it the Turbo!
Verdict: Too early to say…
Suzuki Baleno – given what it is (a build-to-budget small hatch) the Baleno is not half-bad. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cars in the segment that are so much more than that, and this possesses none of the charm of the little Swift.
Jaguar F-Pace – normally I would blast a car like this for its predictable looks (it’s an XE front and F-type rear stretched over an SUV skin) and awful name, but I have to say I actually really like the way it looks, and I think it’ll take the market by storm given how limp the latest generation of Q7s, X5s and MLs looks. The name F-Pace is still awful, though – what was wrong with XQ?
Borgward BX7 – they would like you to believe this car has something to do with the once-BMW-rivalling German brand… it doesn’t. What it is is an upstart Chinese SUV maker with some ties to Europe (think Qoros) – not bad, to the extent that it resembles the Q5, but really – why would anyone want to buy this?
Peugeot Fractal concept – a really neat-looking 4-seater cabrio with a muscular stance, aggressive details and the stupid mixed paintjob Peugeot has been applying to its sport-ish cars of late. Still, if this could in any away influence the next 209 that would be a really good thing