Both Mini and Honda are bringing small electric cars to market. The former will be a plug-in version of the popular hatchback while the latter is set to release a production version of its Urban EV concept we saw a few years ago. Both cars will feature retro styling while the Honda is expected to spawn a two-seat roadster model based on the Sport EV concept. The Mini meanwhile will make use of BMW technology. That means i3 power and performance, but in a less polarising body.
Speaking of BMW, the company is on a bit of a crusade with its new models. The 1 and 3 Series as well as the X6 and Z4 are all being replaced with all-new models, while the company is adding an additional two models. The 8 Series revives a long dormant nameplate for a Bentley and Aston Martin competitor while the X7 is the firm’s new flagship SUV. The 8 Series will be available as a coupe and convertible as well as a four-door ‘gran coupe’ with a high performance M8 version confirmed to come later in the year. Between them, it and the X7 will be the most expensive cars BMW has ever made, likely costing even more than the i8 supercar.
Korean cars are going through a renaissance of sorts with some of their new models causing real headaches for German and Japanese firms. The Hyundai i30 N hot hatch proved popular with ‘Top Gear’s’ Chris Harris and a new body style, known as the ‘fastback’ is coming in 2019. This saloon like the 5-door will share the hatchback’s 2.0 litre engine making either 248bhp or 272 bhp in the Performance model. It joins the Kia Stinger in Korea’s sports car stable. Road testers were very positive about the Hyundai, finding fault only in its mundane styling.
Enthusiasts love to hate SUVs, but have a not-so-secret love for true off-roaders. The jeep Wrangler and Mercedes G-Wagen have already been replaced with new versions, and the Suzuki Jimny and Land Rover Defender are soon to follow. These are cars built to go anywhere and have their roots either in the farm yard or the military. The Suzuki is especially interesting as it falls under the Japanese micro or ‘K’ car classification. This allows it to fit in where a Land Rover or Jeep could never hope to, making it the only true ‘go-anywhere’ vehicle on sale. The all-new model features a more powerful engine than the car it replaces and even before it has gone on sale, the aftermarket has already begun to play with it.
Off course the word on the street is electric and there is no shortage of those on the horizon. But there is also a range of new cars that are all too tempting.