After a slight decrease in the second quarter of 2017,sales of exotic cars in Europe have returned to double digit growth with a 10% increase in the third quarter. As a result, the year-to-date figure is still up 16% to just over 5.500 units. The all-new Aston Martin DB11 has already lost the segment lead it took in the first quarter, as it was down into third place in both Q2 and Q3. The best seller in the third quarter was the former segment leader Bentley Continental GT, even though the next generation of that model has already been revealed and will hit showrooms in 2018. The current generation lost 13% of its volume in the third quarter. The Ferrari 488 was up 13% in Q3 and holds on to its top spot for now, but it will be a tight race with the Continental GT if the latter keeps up its momentum. If the Bentley manages to top the ranking again this year, it would mark the 6th consecutive year the model will do so. For the 488 it would be the first time in its career. Its predecessor 458 Italia never took the title, as the last time a Ferrari was the best selling exotic car in Europe was in 2009, the last year of the F430. The only other model to sell over 150 units in Q3 is the Lamborghini Huracan, up 8% on last year.
After a booming first quarter of 2017, sales of exotic cars in Europe have stabilized with a 2% decrease in the second quarter. First half sales are still up, but by “only” 18%, to 3.951 units. We already had a new segment leader in Q1 with the all-new Aston Martin DB11, but in Q2 we crown yet another new leader, as the Ferrari 488 has topped the charts for the first time in its career. Ever since it replaced the former segment leader Ferrari 458 Italia, the Bentley Continental GT had topped the charts. Until this year, that is. After a stable Q1, the Continental loses 23% of its volume in Q2, which leads to an 11% loss year-to-date. The next generation will be revealed at the Frankfurt Auto Show in a few weeks time and will arrive in Bentley showrooms next year. The DB11 slows down slightly in the second quarter and was even outsold by the Continental GT in Q2 (by just 6 sales), but is expected to rebound later this year when deliveries of the AMG V8 twin turbo engine pick up steam. The only other model in the segment to sell more than 100 units per quarter is the Lamborghini Huracan in fourth place with a 12% increase in the first half.
The past year has seen an interesting development in the arena of exotic and ultra-luxurious cars – the emergence of smaller-engined versions of cars that were previously available only with super-high-output 12-cylinder options. First was the facelifted Ferrari FF, now called the GTC4 Lusso, which in addition to the all-wheel-drive V12 version became available as an “entry level” model with rear-wheel-drive, powered by a turbocharged V8 engine taken from the 488 GTB and California T. Then Bentley released the oft-rumored Bentayga powered by, the sacrilege, a V8 turbodiesel seemingly taken straight out of the Audi SQ7. Are they a sign of things to come, smart decisions by the brands from a marketing perspective, or foolish endeavors to chase short-term profits at the expense of the brands’ long-term allure?
Sales of exotic cars in Europe have exploded in the first quarter of 2017, with a growth of 45% to over 2.100 units. And after years of domination by the Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari 458 Italia, we have a new segment leader, straight out of the box. With almost a quarter of total segment sales, the all-new Aston Martin DB11 has stormed to the top of the ranking, ahead of the Ferrari 488 which maintains its second place thanks to a sales growth of 35%, while the former segment leader Continental GT is kicked down to third place with stable sales. Never before has an Aston Martin topped the exotic car segment in Europe, but the DB11 is an obvious hit with affluent buyers. It has turned the two-horse race at the top of the ranking into a three-way, as the top-3 dominates the segment with 68,3% of total sales as the #3 sells more than triple the volume of its closest rival.
Abarth 124 Spider
This is the tuned version of the Fiat 124 Spider, which in its turn is based on the fourth generation Mazda MX-5. That means a long hood, low seating position and short but stubby rear end. And of course rear wheel drive and a short-shifting manual gearbox. The Abarth looks more militant than the Fiat thanks to its black hood and trunk lid, but the powerboost of just 10 hp to 170 hp isn’t very impressive and the chassis can handle more power for sure. I hope they’re coming up with more impressive hardware in the future, for example the 300 hp 1,8 liter they’ve mounted in the rally-spec Abarth hard-top. That unit has been mounted further back in the engine bay for better weight distribution. But that’s not all: it looks so stunning you’d wonder why they don’t use a transparent hood to show their jewelry to the world.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
We’ve finally seen the mainstream versions of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, after having been teased with the Giulia QV for over six months now, and honestly I hate to say this, but I’m slightly disappointed with them. The Giulia looks absolutely stunning and very aggressive with the QV body kit, and the white one on display wasn’t too bad, but the blue and grey ones just look didn’t do it for me. The lame wheel designs didn’t help and neither did the uninspiring colors. I really hope this is Alfa’s attempt at following Audi’s strategy of making the basic car look so lame that anyone with even one drop of petrolhead-blood in his body is forced to spend extra on the optional sports package (or S-line for Audi) with body kit and a nice set of wheels to make the car look the way it’s supposed to look.
The Giulia will be available in Europe with three 2,2 liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, the 150 hp and 180 hp versions are rear-wheel drive only and the option of manual or automatic gearbox. The 210 hp diesel will only have four-wheel drive and an automatic. The 2 liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine will also come in three versions all with standard automatic gearbox. The entry-level version has 200 hp with rear-wheel drive, the 250 hp version has four-wheel drive and the 280 hp version surprisingly comes standard with RWD, but optional AWD. The next step up is the QV with 510 hp, as we already know.[Read more…]
#5 Ssangyong Tivoli XLV
Why is it here? Because it marks a returns to form for Ssangyong as the maker of the ugliest cars on earth. The regular Tivoli may not be a great looker, but at least it’s a decently-proportioned small crossover. And proportions is exactly what this overstretched, under-wheeled monstrosity gets so horribly wrong.