Brexit, Trump and the death of far too many celebs: some folk will be glad to see the back of 2016, but what of the cars that won’t be around to see in the new year? We’ve selected 10 cars that will no longer be on sale in 2017.
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1: Land Rover Defender
At the end of January, we said goodbye to a British institution – a vehicle that had been part of the furniture since 1948. A few tears were shed as the final Land Rover Defender rolled off the Solihull production line, a victim of increasingly stringent safety and emissions regulations.
Land Rover said farewell with the help of a trio of last-of-the-line special editions, including the Defender Heritage, which the firm claimed was a modern interpretation of HUE 166 – the first Land Rover built in 1948. Land Rover will build a replacement – set to arrive in 2019 – but it’s unlikely to capture hearts and minds quite like the original.
2: Audi R8 e-tron
Audi unveiled the second coming of the R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, after an earlier attempt to build a flagship electric vehicle was canned in 2012. By October 2016, Audi had pulled the plug on the production version, with Car and Driver reporting that fewer than 100 had been built.
The figures were compelling: 456hp, 679lb ft of torque, 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and a range of 280 miles. But it didn’t come cheap – a price tag of $1 million (£800,000) pitched the electric supercar against some seriously hardcore machines. Combine this with a bizarre sales and marketing strategy and you could argue the R8 e-tron was doomed to failure.
3: Renaultsport Megane
Renault has made it easier to name the best new hot hatch you can buy simply by axing the Renaultsport Megane. To be fair, ‘axing’ is probably the wrong word, because the hot Megane is merely a victim of a model change – a new Renaultsport version of the fourth generation Megane will follow.
In the meantime we must mourn the loss of what was – for seven years – the undisputed king of the driver-focused hot hatch segment. The last-of-the-line was a Liquid Yellow Megane 275 Cup-S with ‘kitchen sink’ levels of optional equipment. Make no mistake, third generation RS Meganes are destined for classic status.
4: Citroen C5
In a sign of the times, Citroen has axed the C5 from the UK market, choosing to focus on superminis, hatchbacks and people carriers. Indeed, Citroen claims the C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso are suitable alternatives to the former fleet favourite.
Actually, ‘favourite’ might be overplaying things, because a mere 237 C5s were registered in 2015, highlighting the increasing popularity of crossovers and SUVs. In Tourer guise, the C5 was achingly good looking, while the C5 saloon deserved more love than it ever received. But large French cars have never sold well in the UK and the C5 was a victim of trends beyond its control.
5: Roewe 750
The Rover 75 is dead. Hardly headline news, given the fact that the 75 disappeared from these shores back in 2005. But the 75 lived on in the form of the Roewe 750, when Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) bought the rights to the car following the collapse of MG Rover.
Without the rights to the Rover name, SAIC created the Roewe brand and marketed the 75 as the 750 in China. But now, CarNewsChina is reporting production has ended, bringing to an end nearly two decades of Rover 75 production.
6: Volvo S80
You didn’t need to splash the cash on a Volvo S80 to enjoy its deep pile carpets, superb seats and refinement. In 2011, Volvo renewed its contract with Tristar Worldwide to supply 2,100 cars for Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Upper Class chauffeur duties. The chances are, you’d have been driven to the airport in an S80 or V70.
But the Volvo S80 is no more, replaced by the even more sumptuous and satisfying Volvo S90. The S80 was no drivers’ car, but that hardly mattered when you were being chauffeured along the M25 in supreme comfort.
7: BMW Z4
It hasn’t gone, yet, but the BMW Z4 is on borrowed time. In August, BimmerToday reported that the last Z4 had rolled out of the factory in August, bringing to an end 14 years of production. It’s still listed on the BMW website – priced from £29,695 – but you’ll need to be quick.
Not that you should necessarily be in a hurry to grab a late slice of Z4 action. While its boulevard cruising abilities are in little doubt, there are far better options out there, most notably those wearing a Porsche badge. Alternatively, wait for the launch of the Z5, which will be the result of project involving BMW and Toyota.
8: Toyota FJ Cruiser
The retro-inspired FJ Cruiser was first seen as a concept at the 2005 Chicago Auto Show and, such was the response, Toyota pressed ahead with a production version. It was inspired by the third generation Land Cruiser, known as the FJ40.
The FJ Cruiser – which lived out its twilight years in Australia – was a wonderful antidote to the raft of soft-focus crossovers, with a 4.0-litre V6 engine producing 280lb ft of torque. The Aussies loved it, with an average of 180 sold every month. We’re sad to see it go.
9: Volvo V70
We’d be just as sad to say goodbye to the Volvo V70, were it not for the fact that its replacement – the Volvo V90 – is so damn desirable. But let us take a moment to treasure the memory of the V70 – which is able to draw on a heritage spanning three generations and 20 years.
The original V70 of 1996 borrowed heavily from the 850, but displayed softer styling, as Volvo looked to shake off its boxy image. Curiously, the V70 was never the most cavernous estate car on the market, but its reputation for safety and solidity helped to carry it a long way.
10: Rolls-Royce Phantom
This year represents the final year of production for the seventh generation Phantom, with Rolls-Royce introducing the Zenith Collection to give it a fitting send off. It brings to a close a history of craftsmanship and bespoke detailing dating back to 2003.
The first Phantom was handed over in 2003, with the Phantom Drophead Coupe following in 2007, which in turn was followed by the Phantom Coupe in 2008. All 50 examples of the Phantom Zenith Collection have been commissioned, so if your name’s not down, you’re not getting a slice of Rolls-Royce history.