It’s amazing what you’ll find washed up on beaches these days…
Is it only for me that the first two months of 2018 have flown by? On Monday it will be time to gather in the rather gloomy hall in the backlands of Palexpo to hear the results of European Car of the Year 2018, along with the grandees of the world’s automotive media, and a few captains of the motor industry feigning insouciance, in the face of the reality that a CotY win still has real sales and profits value.
The Salon des Refusés is often more interesting than short list nominees. We should not be surprised that the Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari 812 Superfast, and McLaren 720S were too rich for the shortlist. No fewer than five new SUVs from various parts of the VAG Reich went by the board, and Opel’s cup of woe continues to overflow, with the Insignia, Crossland X, and Grandland X failing to make the final list. They’re having a rotten year.
My personal regrets are the absence of the Alpine A110, Suzuzi Ignis, and Volvo XC60, the last being more ‘rounded’ in its capabilities than XC40 which made it to the final seven.
Let’s remind ourselves of the final seven:
Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Does it bring anything new to the SUV party? The Giulia did well, but not well enough in last year’s vote. I’d expect a reasonable showing.
Audi A8. Doesn’t quite match the BMW G30 5 Series for utter bankruptcy on the stylistic progression front, but it comes close. Does technological density make a good car? This one looks like a dead end on a rapidly changing street map.
BMW 5 Series. If there’s light, it’s hidden under a bushel. That said, a car I could happily live with.
Citroën C3 Aircross. PSA do these things well and this is a particularly neat example.
Kia Stinger. The dark horse. Fighting its way into a demanding and diminishing sector. To paraphrase Borges, will it be yet another bald man fighting over that comb?
Seat Ibiza. Interesting that this, rather than the Polo, went forward to the finalists. As good a supermini as one could wish for, which was also true of the outgoing Polo which won CotY in 2010.
Volvo XC40. Like Alfa, Volvo have done well, but not quite well enough, in recent CotY finals. A win for the XC40 would be just reward for the impressive progress the company have made under Geely ownership.
Finally, in the latest Autocropley, Matt Prior, the august publication’s Road Test Editor reports that he is ‘being brave’ with his CotY vote. He explains himself well, without giving away his choice, but I deplore the devaluation of the concept of ‘bravery’, which has gone the way of ‘hero’, an epithet now wasted on football players or drug-addled competitive bicycle riders.