East to West
Motor shows have all but disappeared these days, mainly due to the pandemic. Sadly some will not return as we adapt to a more virtual world. However over in China life is returning to normal and that meant Shanghai motor show started the week off. There were plenty of bizarre concepts and lots of models that will only be sold in China but we saw a few global reveals that are heading our way.
Maserati revealed its Levante hybrid, the first electrified SUV from the Modena automaker. Performance hybrids might seem a bit of a contradiction to some, but they allow for all the sporty driving you expect together with some electric running in the city. Still in Italy, Maserati is launching some special models to celebrate Juan Manuel Fangio’s success in F1 with the 250F. The F Tributo treatment has been given to the Ghibli and Levante and while the changes are just cosmetic, if you’re a fan of the role Fangio played in world motorsport then these might be for you.
Mercedes recently launched the GLB small SUV and now it’s adding an electric version to the range, the EQB. Due in the UK towards the end of 2021 it will feature up to seven seats and models that can deliver a claimed range of as much as 297 miles.
Nissan has being putting its models through big design changes in recent years and it used Shanghai to reveal the new X-Trail which will arrive in the UK next year. Not surprisingly it will feature more tech as well as electrified models that offer quiet electric running.
Honda set to generate interest
Honda is promising that it will electrify its entire range by the middle of 2022. So far it’s only pure electric car is the fantastic little Honda e but it’s pressing ahead with hybrid versions. It’s now added the HR-V E-HEV to the line-up, a popular small SUV that features a 1.5 litre engine as a generator for two electric motors. This isn’t a new thing of course, BMW did it with the i3 and Vauxhall with the Ampera, but it’s a good solution for the medium term as Honda prepares for full electric. It will still feature clever stuff like the great Magic Seats as well as typical quality and reliability.
Volkswagen revealed the new Volkswagen Polo this week, although it’s really just a facelift. It has more of a Golf look about it with some rather nice new LED lighting front and rear. The interior now has the digital instrumentation as standard as well as some cool new upholstery options, especially on the revised R-Line models. When it arrives in the UK in the summer it will be a great example of how you don’t have to pay the earth to get the latest tech and great design.
If you're waiting for the Polo’s sibling, the new Skoda Fabia then you still have to wait until next month to see it. In the meantime, Skoda has revealed another sketch that hints at what we can expect its popular little hatch to look like.
Something fast, very fast
Ferrari has revealed a limited edition model based on the 812 Superfast. Created really for collectors, it features the highest purely engine output of any road-going Ferrari ever at 819 bhp. It features clever new aerodynamic design and technology, lots of lightweight materials and a unique colour scheme. What will it be called and how fast will it be you ask? Well we don’t know yet, but when it’s officially revealed on 5 May we’ll let you know.
Still on the subject of Maranello, Ferrari said it wouldn’t make an electric vehicle, but then it also said it wouldn’t make an SUV. Like its decision to build an SUV, it has had to change its mind on electric and has said it will launch its first fully electric model in 2025.
And finally some awards
The World Car of the Year awards were announced this week and it was yet another big win for Volkswagen as its new ID 4 electric car took the coveted overall World Car of the Year title. The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class was awarded Luxury Car of the Year, while the Porsche 911 Turbo received Performance Car of the Year. The Urban Car award went to the electric Honda e and the Car Design of the Year? That went to the new Land Rover Defender.