Car Noise 2015 Part 2

In our last instalment we burned up 800 words just getting to July. Now we will canter through August to December. 

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia: automotive news
2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia: automotive news

August
It had to happen. Lotus said they’d produce an SUV. To judge by the images shown it will really be a kind of tall hatchback and not a Jeep Cherokee clone. At this point in the history of the world I am only here to report that Mercedes have yet another model, the GLE coupe and I don’t know what the hell it is or what it does. I think it might be a competitor for the BMW GT something. I know people look to DTW for guidance on these things and that’s nice. I need to say here that eventually even I have given up on trying to parse the car market as it is seen by Mercedes so I can’t interpret it for you. Thank goodness Hyundai are launching RWD V-8s. I know what they are and what they are for.

Actually, I do know what the GLE is. It is a car with 4WD and a raised H-point which suits older drivers. I think it looks okay but then again I like the BMW GT3 and GT5 too. While were here talking about niche-filling  cars such as the BMW Active Tourer (an MPV) I can remind you about the launch of the LWB version known as the “Gran Tourer”. And let’s stop talking about it. It’s a FWD BMW minivan. It will steal sales from the better and bigger Ford Galaxy even though it costs £2,000 more.

We have discussed the Mazda CX-3 elsewhere here on these pages, mostly with regards to the C-pillars. The press missed that point and said they liked the standard of build and steering and didn’t once talk about those pillars.

2015 Ssang Yong Tivol, Indian market: shiftinggears.com
2015 Ssang Yong Tivoli, Indian market: shiftinggears.com

September

….mostly had the oxygen sucked out of the room by the VW diesel scandal that kept the automotive and general press very occupied. As a result, the arrival of Jaguar’s revised XF for tests may have gone unnoticed. It’s quite nice, they say. BMW’s X1 emerged from the pupa in Munich as a comparatively lovely butterfly compared to the larva that went in. Mercedes replaced the chunky, angular and handsome GLK with the rounded and less distinctive GLC which I suspect is spun off the the FWD cars that Mercedes makes these days to the boundless chagrin of VW, Opel and Ford.

Honda re-used the HRV name on a new car which is nothing like the old one in looks or spirit. It’s some manner of tall hatchy thing and is supposed to compete with the equally uninteresting RAV-4. Honda’s much longed-for NSX Mk2 underwent its first road tests and like the 308 GTi, left an underwhelming impression. The suspension received little attention which I thought surprising. The same happened to McLaren’s MP which has some manner of hydraulic set-up. The press talked more about the HVAC system than the suspension on that car.

October…

…and the VW engine scandal carried on. For company directors and, eventually, pub-owners, there was good news in the form of the all-new BMW 7-series. This sort of thing used to be front cover news. It got about the same coverage as the new Mondeo. That said, at first glance this car is much like the old one though the grille is bigger. Renault offered another hot hatch: the Renaultsport Clio 220 Trophy and Vauxhall wheeled out another VXR, the GTS Auto. The poor Skoda Superb estate got a facelift and lost its rather fine, gently radiiused corners. It was a very individual car and had what I call surface richness (like the Rover 75). It’s now very sharp and pointy and lacks the strong impression which I thought suited it rather well. The new version is still really, really big though and ought to do for anyone who has ever fancied a Chevrolet Caprice station wagon but not the V8 it comes with.

November and December.

After what seemed like five thousand years of teasing and leaks, the Alfa Romeo Giulia slowly became a real car though you still can’t buy one. The news the configurator (that’s just a digital brochure) was switched on was enough to send the news people into a state of high excitement. The design director told the world the Giulia was not inspired by the 3-series. Thanks, we were curious about that.

To end the year: a new Audi A4 which has masses of features to make the driver irrelevant; another Porsche Carrera S; the Toyota Mirai (it’s shockingly ugly); the Lexus GSF (ditto), another sporty Seat Leon (much like the one at the start of the year) and a roofless Ferarri spider. Even if it’s winter those things sell anyway.

That was the motoring year, at least as seen in the English language. Doubtless we left something out. There was a Peugeot 308 GTi in their somewhere. And a lot of very bad C-pillars.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

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