Ford has announced production of the beloved Fiesta will end in 2023, Rolls-Royce reveals its electric Spectre and we have a couple of adventurous concepts from the Paris Motor Show.
Fiesta party to come to an end
Ford has confirmed it will end production of the Fiesta in June 2023, after over 45 years as the UK’s most popular car. It will also cease production of the S-Max and Galaxy MPV models.Ford has previously said it has no plans for an electric Fiesta and will launch three new electric passenger cars by 2024 along with four new commercial EVs.
No doubt many will feel a nostalgic sadness at the Fiesta’s demise, after all who doesn’t have a story involving a Fiesta from some point in their lives, but sales have been dropping in recent years as the SUV takes over. Where the Fiesta used to regularly top the list of sales month after month, year after year, today it doesn’t even feature in the top ten, with the Ford Puma proving far more popular. However with over 4.8 million of them sold in the UK alone, it’s likely to retain the crown of Britain’s most popular car in the history books for some time to come.
While popular small cars seem to have had their day, at the luxury end of the market things are going well, very well. Rolls-Royce sales are up and it has big plans to go electric, something that makes sense for a brand that has always prided itself on conveying its occupants in peaceful luxury.
We travelled to Goodwood, the home of Rolls-Royce for the reveal of the Spectre, the illustrious marque’s first all-electric model. It’s the fulfilment of a vision of the company’s co-founder Charles Royce after driving an electric car in 1900 and admiring it for being “perfectly noiseless and clean.” Chairman of the BMW Group, Oliver Zipse told us that the technology is now available to create the electric model that Rolls would have wanted and so debuts the Spectre.
It’s a proper four-seater coupe with a more aerodynamic shape than other Rolls-Royces. That includes a more swept back grille, the widest in the brand’s history, more than 830 hours wind testing refinements to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy mascot and bodywork designed to help the car achieve a driving range of up to 323 miles. Powering it will be a variation of BMW’s electric motor and batteries which together will produce around 900Nm and enable the 2,975kg coupe to reach 62mph in just 4.5 seconds.
More importantly though, it will be able to carry four adults in comfort with four proper seats, all featuring the most luxurious materials. The starlight headliner has been replicated in the 1.5m wide doors which feature 4,796 tiny stars. There are 5,000 more stars in the dashboard where the passenger faces a panel with the Spectre name surrounded by an intricate constellation when the car is in motion. Other tech includes a revamped instrument cluster and infotainment system, but don’t think traditional luxury has gone, there are still metal handles, buttons and dials which have a cold solidity to them.
There are still a few things to finalise, including how to finish off the space beneath the enormous bonnet and testing will continue around the world in the months to come. Then in the last quarter of 2023 customers who have already placed a deposit on their cars, which are likely to cost in excess of £275,000, will begin to feel how luxurious electrification can be.
No we haven’t expanded to France, it means welcome to more SUVs because the Paris Motor Show was full of them, along with more crossovers.
Jeep has already revealed images of its new electric Avenger which debuted at the show, but along with the new model it gave us the Avenger 4x4 concept. This 4x4 version has added attitude with bigger wheels, additional lights to help you see while green laning, better approach and departure angles and a rugged roof rack. We suspect Jeep has real plans for this one.
Renault provided one of the most exciting concepts of the show in the form of the 4Ever, a crossover that brings back the famous Renault 4 nameplate. Unlike the Renault 5 which has been confirmed for production, it seems unlikely that the 4Ever will make it to our roads, at least not like the concept, but we think it’s a cool looking thing and stranger things have happened.
Also at Paris….no actually that’s it. We do miss the days when motor shows were highlights of the year. What happened to all the big reveals, the wow factor as a new model was unveiled? They've definitely lost their lustre and we suspect they might never get it back, but we hope they do.
One of the reasons motor shows aren’t such a big thing is the advent of the online reveal, but who on earth chooses to reveal their new model on a Sunday evening when everyone’s curled up on the sofa watching telly? Mercedes-Benz that’s who. For some bizarre reason, Merc thought we would all want to watch it reveal its new electric EQE SUV making its debut instead of relaxing on a Sunday evening. Not surprisingly we didn’t tune in, choosing instead to look it up on the Monday morning.
The EQE SUV is, as the name suggests, the SUV version of the recently revealed EQE, itself the electric equivalent of the E-Class. There will be various power choices available, rear or all-wheel drive and an AMG derivative when it goes on sale. Inside, there will be a basic trim or you can have the digital Hyperscreen that spans the whole dashboard and now can be used with Zync, a platform that delivers video, games and other interactive content to the car. There will be the option of a leather-free interior (except for the steering wheel) and Electric Art trim has seat covers. It all sounds very tailored for today’s lifestyle and should deliver the Mercedes design and quality its fans expect with the added bonus of being electric.
Over at Skoda, the Czech automaker has announced a VRS version of its Enyaq electric SUV. The VRS name has always been the badge of performance for Skoda and the Enyaq VRS follows the debut of the Enyaq Coupe VRS. Both use two electric motors, front and rear, to produce 299hp and provide a drive range of around 310 miles. The design features a more dynamic look with larger wheels, sports suspension that lowers it by 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear over the standard model and of course a more sporty interior. Plus you can have it in Hyper Green, or not.
Genesis is still trying to get on the radar for many buyers who traditionally look at brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes. It’s doing a fine job of ticking the style, luxury and value for money boxes, but now it’s adding a slightly more sporty character to its G80 saloon with the launch of a new Sport Line version. It doesn’t change anything in terms of actual performance, save for a new sports exhaust, but it does add some cosmetic stuff like dark gloss chrome for the grille, bumper inserts and window trims along with some new wheel options. It might not seem like much but if you want dark chrome bits on your Genesis G80 then you'll be excited by this news.
Finally, the Lotus Eletre. We’ve brought you all the details before but one thing was missing, the price. Now the Norfolk-based sports car maker has given us all the info and there will be three models with the entry-level Eletre starting at £89,500. It delivers 603hp from its 112kWh battery pack, with the £104,500 Eletre S offering the same power. Fork out £120,000 for the Eletre R and you’ll get 905hp and a 0-62mph time of 2.95 seconds. There’s lots to be excited about with this one we think, but we’ll curb our enthusiasm slightly until we’ve driven it.
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