Mid-Year Review: The 6 Most Important Cars of 2018
Apart from really important SUV debuts, the first six months of 2018 saw the introduction of some astonishing cars as well. We had it all, from electric supercars to coupe-like performance sedans and standard, but revolutionary sedans.
This year is seeing a smart shift in car development thinking. Obviously, companies have to reinvent their business model and offer the world something unique. This led to the introduction of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe, the fantastic Volvo S60 which you don’t have to buy but subscribe to it as you do with Netflix, and the super fast luxury GT that’s as mad as the 812 Superfast – the DBS Superleggera. Then there is the Rimac C_Two – a car that basically showcases the growth of a young car company. Thanks to technology wonders, we can basically watch the company development live. And, the Rimac C_Two was their Rumble in the Jungle moment. These are this year’s six most thrilling debuts so far.
The Rimac C_Two is at sort of a Eureka point of this year so far.
As a successor to the famed Concept_One, the Croatian niche car producer, and technology supplier for the OEMs, Rimac Automobili, revealed the new C_Two (Concept_Two) at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. It is still electric, still super advanced, and finally comfortable enough. However, despite all the insane performance numbers Rimac managed to cram into it, the C_Two has a few more important tasks - to put the company under the world’s spotlight, promote the electric drive system, autonomous drive, and land Rimac some nice deals. And yes, beat the Tesla Roadster.
Well, it did all of that only in a matter of weeks following its introduction. After showing it at the Geneva Motor Show, where Mate Rimac, Rimac Automobili CEO disclosed the company plans to produce 150 units, buyers from all around the world made a call to Sveta Nedelja in Croatia where the car is built. 150 buyers for 150 cars whose starting price is $2.1 million were spoken for in three weeks. And, these buyers don’t buy the entry level gear. On average, buyers added $615,300 of options. Mad.
Following a major success at the auto show and then with the sales, Rimac Automobili came to be a hot topic in the world of cars. In June this year, “Porsche AG has invested in the technology and electric sports car company Rimac Automobili by taking a minority shareholding of ten percent.” A major investment by one of the biggest players (if not the biggest in the sports cars game).
The Rimac C_Two is at sort of a Eureka point of this year so far. The Croatians did the unfathomable and revealed a car that can rewrite the whole premise of a supercar, or a hypercar, whatever.
Using four electric motors, one for each wheel, 120 kWh lithium manganese nickel batteries, and a wealth of advanced technologies, the Rimac C_Two is capable of performance comparable to the Bugatti Chiron.
It will accelerate to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds, it will do 186 mph in 11.8 seconds, and at the top end, the speedo will say 256 mph. All that with an alleged range of 400 miles and weight of 4,200 lbs.
First deliveries for the car will start in the year 2020, but it has already made quite a stir.
Read our full review on the 2019 Rimac C_Two.
The 2019 Volvo S60 is the first car to bridge the gap before the complete ICE demise within the brand
As a producer of safe, appealing, family-centric cars, the arrival of the new Volvo S60 was one of the most awaited moments in the world of cars. Especially now, at a point in time where the onslaught of SUVs is somehow killing off a multitude of sedans. Because of that fact alone, the new Volvo S60 had to be exceptional, and it had to introduce us to a new way of thinking about sedans.
- It is the first Volvo sedan car to be offered without a diesel engine in a really long time
- One does not have to buy it but subscribe to it with a fixed monthly payments via the Care by Volvo subscription service
- It introduced Polestar Engineered performance brand focused on sharpening up Volvo cars, starting with the top of the line S60 T8 Twin engine model
- The Volvo S60 is equipped with the new emergency braking system and it is the first on the market that can recognize pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals
- It is the first Volvo produced in America in an all-new factory
Scaling back the design of the larger Volvo S90, Volvo managed to craft one of the best-looking sedans of today. It is a true entry executive sedan with the bells and whistles to scare the competition from the land where executive sedans appeared in the first place - Germany.
The new S60 is available with three trim levels - the Momentum, the Inscription, and the R-Design. Buyers can choose between four different propulsion systems with power ranging from 250 horsepower to 400 horsepower - two of them are plug-in hybrids.
The 2019 Volvo S60 is not only a continuation of Volvo’s successful rejuvenation which started with the introduction of the SPA platform, but it is the first car to bridge the gap before the complete ICE demise within the brand. It may well be that this model is the last Volvo S60 to be offered with ICEs. A rather incredible prospect when you think about it. Furthermore, it is a car that furthers the cause started some years ago with the so-called Mission 2020. The new Volvo S60 is so safe that it may be impossible to have a fatal crash in without trying extremely hard.
Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo S60.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door is the perfect competitor to the latest Porsche Panamera.
Mercedes-AMG made some fundamental surges into mass-car production with the introduction of a number of dedicated AMG models. Its halo car may be the incredible Project One, but, on the streets, you are far more likely to enjoy the presence of the AMG GT - its sports car to take on the likes of the Jaguar F-Type or the Porsche 911. Now, with the introduction of the GT 4-door, the Mercedes-AMG moves a step further from the Mercedes-Benz paradigm. Heck, I assume that in a few years time, AMG may even become a standalone brand under the Daimler patronage. They really did try to do that with the Maybach in the 2000s.
Built on top of redesigned E-Class architecture, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door is the perfect competitor to the latest Porsche Panamera. Heck, it feels like it was built to specifically take on the task of beating the Porsche Panamera, and maybe the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe.
So what about the CLS?
While the CLS did invent the class of sedans with a coupe-like roof and spirited driving characteristics, over the years this car has become something like a business barge within the Mercedes-Benz bubble of cars. The AMG GT 4-door on the other hand is something else. Despite being made on the E-Class chassis (something engineers didn’t exactly eagerly disclose,) the AMG GT 4-door still feels like the bigger version of the two-door AMG GT. Yet, don’t forget that it shares its underpinnings with the E-Class Coupe, the Cabriolet, the Wagon, and even the CLS.
Right now, AMG offers it with the mild-hybrid setup in the GT 53. It features the 3.0-liter, inline-six with an ISG (Integrated Starter Generator.) Total output sits at 429 horsepower. The GT 63 and the GT 63 S are also available. These, as is the case with the AMG GT, come with a 4.0-liter V-8 that is tuned to deliver a fantastic 577 horsepower. The most potent version - the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S will surge to 60 mph in a strikingly short 3.1 seconds. This thing is a freaking supercar despite having four seats inside (five for Europe) and four doors.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door.
The new luxury super GT feels like a plot twist in the Aston Martin story
Replacing the Vanquish S, the flagship of the lineup, was the most sensitive job Aston Martin has faced since the introduction of the latest Vantage V8 and the larger DB11. The new car, based on a slightly modified but ultimately the same bonded aluminum architecture, had to reinvent the sporty, hardcore aura Aston Martin cars lacked a bit in the 2000s. The result is the DBS Superleggera. Not only did Aston bring back the famed name, but it added a clear Italian twist to it. Some would, however, rather call it just the DBSS. Nevertheless, the new luxury super GT feels like a plot twist in the Aston Martin story. Not of the same magnitude of “Luke, I am your father” but a fun twist nonetheless. We have known it will happen for some time now - ever since Aston Martin silently announced it will go after Ferrari. And, then the new 5.2-liter, V-12 was introduced, a perfect companion to the DB11 chassis and even better in this iteration with 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Considering that the DBS Superleggera lost 159 lbs of weight and was given a complete design overhaul with suspension upgrades worthy of race cars, Aston Martin went hardcore on its flagship.
It had to be hardcore as its main, and possibly the only direct competitor is the 789 horsepower Ferrari 812 Superfast.
Obviously, with so much power and all the imaginable suspension, transmission, and aero trickery, the DBS has become a really fast car - with 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 211 mph. Yet, its importance isn’t only linked with its speed or cornering abilities but with the fact that it comes in a world full of super expensive luxury super GTs people actually buy in large quantities. Looking only a few years back, Aston Martin capped the yearly production to 7,000 units. All in order to keep the exclusivity of its brand and its cars. So, having to compete with the most expensive and the most outrageous cars out there is the only viable solution for growth. And the market clearly exists. After all, I did find five exceptional cars the DBS Superleggera, and the DB11 can compete with for buyers.
As the new flagship, the DBS Superleggera showcases the growth of Aston Martin through its rejuvenation process that started with the DB11. Their mission includes the introduction of a new car every nine months, with the DBS Superleggera Volante scheduled for reveal early next year. By 2021 we will have two new Lagonda models and an Aston Martin SUV as well.
Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.
Focusing on giving us a unique sports car, closely associated with the Ultimate Driving Machine motto, BMW is also reinventing its design language with the 8
Aston Martin isn’t the only one showcasing a flagship coupe this year. BMW did much the same with the new BMW 8 Series. This is a number everyone was expecting to see within the BMW lineup for years and the new coupe, now primarily focused on sport, can wear it with great pride.
Although scheduled to be produced in the same factory as the new 7 Series, BMW officials were adamant that the 8 Series will host unique architecture and chassis elements. They convinced me that this is not the two-door 7 Series. After all, it is shorter, much leaner, lower, and it has so many sports-focused elements that it feels like a totally different car.
The model BMW was eager to present is the M850 xDrive M Performance – a car drizzled with go faster bits, the most important of which is the uprated 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8, now developing 523 horsepower (67 more than before). Linked with the specially tuned eight-speed Steptronic transmission, the rear-biased xDrive system, and 20-inch wheels, the V-8 can propel this BMW to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. This makes it the quickest BMW ever. Not the fastest BMW M car mind you, but even that mad 625 horsepower M5 Competition is only a millisecond or two quicker. The M8, however, will be the fastest and the quickest car BMW (M or not) ever produced.
Focusing on giving us a unique sports car, closely associated with the Ultimate Driving Machine motto, BMW is also reinventing its design language with the 8. All the unique features, such as slim lights and one-piece grille, will be scaled down on smaller and cheaper BMW cars. This is similar to what BMW did with the introduction of the new X5. Its styling cues will influence all upcoming BMW SUVs.
Apart from influencing every future BMW car and cementing what the company stands for, the new 8 Series gives rise to a whole new Series of cars. Apart from this Coupe, we will have the M8, the Gran Coupe (already showcased by BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe Concept) and the Convertible.
Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.
The proportions it gained can only be described as muscular, sporty and athletic
The Peugeot 508 is a family car. At least it was in its first generation. It was a bit too long, a bit too comfy inside, and definitely falling out of lines of entry-level executive saloons. Back then Peugeot did not really care about the executive side of things (Ok, they did a little bit with the GT version), but now, it is a different story. Based on top of an all-new architecture, the Peugeot 508 lost some inches in length, got some heft in width, and lost some of its height. The proportions it gained can only be described as muscular, sporty and athletic. I almost used the word premium here, but then I remembered it did remain a FWD car, with four-cylinder engines, and a hybrid system for its most potent version with AWD. Still, not a premium. Not because it does not deserve to be, but because Peugeot cannot find enough buyers to justify the development of cars with high-powered engines. Maybe we can expect something like 250+ horsepower in a few years time.
That is not the point of the new 508 however. This car represents a fundamental shift in Peugeot ideology. Presenting it under a massive lion sculpture at the Geneva Motor Show, the French company sent a clear message – they will not be bystanders in the world of mean, appealing, and advanced cars. They look to shift the brand awareness from something we could almost call daft to something closer to cool.
In order to do so, the new 508 received frameless doors, a fastback style rear end, low profile, aggressive looking headlights, and super wide rear lights. Honestly, it does look like a riveting car capable of reinventing the brand and moving it closer to premium. The structure it is based on offers multiple capabilities for the hybrid drivetrains which means that top of the line 222 horsepower propulsion could become something more thrilling.
All in all, it seems that the PSA group (who own Peugeot, Citroen, DS, and since recently, Opel and Vauxhall) focused their efforts on shifting Peugeot towards the premium segment. The Peugeot 508 is the first clear example of it.
Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot 508.