Jaguar snubs XE, XF production end rumour despite sluggish sales

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Alfa Romeo 4C

The Alfa Romeo 4C presented a gloriously flawed sports car experience to buyers willing to trade comfort and convenience for a taste of old-school motoring. Featuring a carbon-fiber tub (yet weighing in at more than a steel-bodied Miata), a vestigial trunk (especially when storing the Spider model’s near-useless fabric top), no power steering, and clunky Alpine stereo stuffed into the dash, on paper it was difficult to understand how Alfa Romeo could charge a premium price for the runabout.

Spend more than a moment in its gorgeously sculpted presence, however, and all of the above is forgotten. Shake off its visual intoxication and then drive it on the right roads, and the weirdness of its automated manual gearbox quickly disappears into a blur of grins and turbocharged exhaust blats as the 4C responds to each and every whim with an enthusiasm missing from most modern sports cars. 

Too hardcore to find an audience in a world where the pliant Porsche Boxster is objectively “better” in every possible dimension, very few of these Alfa Romeo missiles were ever sold. With the brand in retreat it was a logical place to staunch the financial bleeding.

Want something similar? A base Mazda Miata provides a reasonable facsimile of the 4C’s mission statement, minus its mid-engine character and guttural turbo fury.

So long Lexus GS. 					Lexus
So long Lexus GS.

Lexus

XJ50 SPECIAL EDITION

Inspired by the past, engineered by the present, the 50th Anniversary Special Edition celebrates 50 years of the Jaguar XJ with exclusive design features and meticulous attention to detail.

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The bright spots in the XF’s list of updates include an interior that is all-new for 2021. The dashboard has been replaced with a new design that mimics the F-Pace’s, and features a new 11.4-inch infotainment system screen, made of glass with a magnesium frame.

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Aluminum and open-pore wood add to the posh cabin aesthetic, as does a 12-speaker Meridian sound system.

There’s more tech, too: proximity entry, wireless phone charging, active noise cancellation, and a surround-view camera system are now standard-issue.

There are a few things that are no longer standard-issue, however. Jaguar has stricken a multitude of options from the order form: the supercharged V6 is no longer available, meaning the only engine options are four-cylinders.

BMW i8

The BMW i8 democratized the idea of a hybrid sports cars by marrying exotic looks with a modest yet fun battery-assisted setup, one that could switch between silent EV operation and growling straight-line speed at the touch of a button. Intended as a mid-range step between eco-focused hybrids and full-on performance machines like the Porsche 918, the plug-in i8 was a fine addition to BMW’s family of electric products when it arrived in 2014.

At the same time, it was clear that the writing was on the wall for the coupe with the futuristic bodywork. Even though a convertible Roadster model would eventually join it in showrooms, BMW had been upfront about its plans not to evolve the i8 into a second generation but rather use it as a test bed for its future electrification plans. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s disappearing after so short a season, but the automotive landscape is definitely poorer for it.

Want something similar? Good luck.

Farewell Cadillac CT6. 					Cadillac
Farewell Cadillac CT6.

Cadillac

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