It’s been quite a year for the automotive industry in 2013. We’ve seen the birth of a whole new breed of hypercar, covered some of the worlds biggest motor shows and travelled over 400,000 miles collectively in the Auto Express office to bring you all the news and road tests that matter.
Now it’s time for a bit of reflection and a round up of the biggest news stories and most important unveils of 2013. There may be a few surprises in the list below but all the stories are those that you have been clicking, tweeting and sharing.
Read more on each of the cars by clicking on the links in blue.
Mercedes’ baby exec was one of the most eagerly anticipated cars of 2013. Before the car had even been officially unveiled, we already had a good idea of what the BMW 3 Series rival would look like thanks a whole host of leaked images and a wealth of spy shots.
Once the wraps were finally pulled off, the C-Class got all of the attention it deserved with beautiful sleek lines and a crisp design. The new look was accompanied with a revised engine range and a new entry-level Nissan derived 1.6-litre diesel motor.
Prices are yet to be announced and we can expect those later in the New Year prior to the cars launch. The range should kick off at around £26,000, however.
In an attempt to fill every niche in the market, BMW launched the 4 Series in 2013. It’s essentially a rebadged 3 Series coupe but has a sleeker body and more flowing proportions.
It sits 10mm lower to the ground than the 3 Series it’s based on and has a wider track, plus springs and dampers tuned for sharper handling. The improvements in terms of design and performance do add a further £3,000 to the list price over the 3 Series, though. A bigger 4 Series Gran Coupe is also in the pipeline, which should is due to arrive next year.
Although 2013 wasn’t the first time we’d seen the Honda NSX, the car still remained hugely popular when it was showcased again at the Detroit Motor Show back in January. The only thing unveiled at Detroit that we hadn’t seen before was the interior.
The exterior remained unchanged from previous show cars but it marked another step in the development of the rebirth of the NSX, due to enter production in 2015. Honda is still remaining quiet about the performance of the NSX but a direct-injection V6 twinned with two electric motors developing nearly 400bhp has been rumoured.
At the beginning of the year at the Detroit Motor Show, Ford unveiled a Shelby Focus ST tuned by Shelby American. It was based on the standard 247bhp Focus ST with Shelby tinkering with the exterior styling of the car by adding a carbon fibre bonnet and Borla exhaust system.
The car was also lowered, fitted with larger Brembo brakes but no modifications were made to the engine. The upgrade was even made available to buy - only in the US, at the cost of £9,300 - but production was limited to just 500 models per year.
Audi has penciled in an early 2015 release date for the new A4 saloon and Auto Express brought you an exclusive image in September showing how the car could look. The new model will be around 100kg lighter and more efficient than the current model, hoping to tempt buyers away from the BMW 3 Series. Our image showed to A4 adopting slim LED headlights and a more aggressive version of the trademark trapezial grille.
Alexander Pesch, head of technical project management for Audi, told us: “The next A4 will move the game on. The jump from today’s car in terms of design and efficiency will be really big.”
The new Ford Mondeo will arrive in September 2014 and come with the option of two different petrol-electric powertrains. One will be a traditional hybrid model while the other will be a plug-in. Initially the new model was to be launched in Europe this year but factory disputes pushed the release date back to 2014.
It will sit 4mm lower to the ground than the current model, giving it a much sleeker profile and the new headlight and grille arrangement has been inspired by the Evos concept.
The new Range Rover Sport was given a new look in 2013 along with a revised engine lineup. Although not available yet, a new four-cylinder diesel engine will join the range next year as the entry-level model. Land Rover is also working on a hot RS version of the Sport, rumoured to have around 542bhp.
The new car may sit on the same lightweight platform as the Range Rover, but 75 per cent of the Sport is unique. It features an all-aluminium body (the fifth from Jaguar Land Rover), meaning a weight saving of 420kg over the equivalent previous Sport, with improvements in economy and emissions of up to 15 per cent. Prices start from £51,500.
Land Rover also has a new Freelander in the pipeline, due to arrive in 2015 and another exclusive Auto Express image showed how it could look. The new model could adopt styling cues from the flagship Range Rover, giving it a more modern and crisp appearance.
It will be similar in size to the Evoque but come with a more hardwearing interior and rugged appearance. The new Freelander 3 could also adopt the new nine-speed automatic gearbox and Haldex 5 all-wheel drive system. Prices should start from around £25,000.
The Ford Focus is one of the most popular cars in the UK and a new model is set to arrive in early 2014, setting a new benchmark for handling and efficiency in its class. We’ve seen various spy shots of test mules indicating the new Focus will receive a minor facelift bringing it inline with the rest of the Ford lineup.
A new 1.5-litre diesel engine will also join the engine range, with CO2 emission on the larger diesel engines being reduced. The new Focus is likely to start at around £14,000 when it arrives in showrooms following its likely debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The wraps were finally pulled off the eagerly awaited Porsche Macan at the LA Motor Show earlier this year and Porsche’s new baby SUV caused quite a stir. It will taking on the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 head on but Porsche maintains despite it being an SUV, the Macan is still a sports car.
We won’t get behind the wheel until February and the German manufacture has just announced two four-cylinder engines will be available by the end of 2014 – one petrol and one diesel motor. The new engines will join the 335bhp 3.0 V6 bi-turbo in the Macan S, a 254bhp 3.0 V6 turbodiesel in the Macan S Diesel and a 394bhp 3.6 V6 bi-turbo in the range-topping Macan Turbo.