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The biggest car news stories of 2015 round-up

We round up the biggest car news stories that made 2015 an unmissable year

There's no denying how much of a ground-breaking, innovative and exciting year 2015 was for the car industry, so we've decided to round up the biggest news stories of the year in one easily digestable package.

Below you'll find a handy reminder of how the the year's car news panned-out with all the top stories from new supercars and exclusive reveals to our New Car Awards and the VW emission scandal. Just keep reading for the biggest car news of 2015...

January

Ford wows Detroit as wraps come off stunning GT

The year began in dramatic style at the Detroit Motor Show, with the surprise debut of the Ford GT supercar. Rumours had suggested it might make an appearance, but nothing was confirmed beforehand – so when the covers were pulled off, it took the world’s breath away.

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Best cars of the Detroit Motor Show 2015

Details were thin on the ground at the show, but we know that the mid-mounted 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The body mixes classic GT40 styling with cues from the previous GT of 2005, and with it being made primarily of carbon fibre, Ford promised “one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car”. A price tag still hasn’t been revealed, but Ford hinted it would be around £250,000. Only a handful will make their way to the UK, and more than 100 potential buyers have already expressed interest.

Autonomous Merc lights up CES show in Vegas

Along with the Detroit Motor Show, January also saw the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas taking place.

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Among the smartphones and TVs, Mercedes exhibited its own vision of a self-driving future. The ‘F 015 Luxury in Motion’ concept was shown, revealing a vast lounge-like interior with four rotating chairs that can face each other.

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What's it like to ride in Mercedes' F 015 driverless car?

At over five metres long and two metres wide, the car is a similar size to a long-wheelbase Mercedes S-Class, but the tear-shaped body provides much more interior room.

The car will eventually be able to drive itself autonomously, but if the driver turns their seat to face the front, the steering column automatically appears allowing the driver to take control of the vehicle. LED lighting on the outside glows white if the car is being driven, or blue if it’s driving itself. 

February

Wraps off Renault’s new Qashqai-based Kadjar

With the huge success of family crossovers, Renault confirmed it would be dipping into this market with the Kadjar. Based on the Qashqai, it’s a very similar car, but Renault’s distinctive styling marks it out. The French firm’s last effort in this sector was the disappointing Koleos, so the Kadjar represents a fresh start on a proven platform.

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Both the outside and inside of the car were revealed, with the interior showing clear influences from the Qashqai, but with Renault’s own R-Link infotainment system in place. A choice of front and switchableall-wheel-drive powertrains was confirmed, too, with engines shared with its Nissan sister car.

Renault predicted that when the Kadjar went on sale in the autumn it would quickly become one of the brand’s best-sellers, not only tempting people who would have considered a Qashqai but providing a larger solution for those upgrading from a Mégane.

HR-V takes aim at Nissan Juke

Honda revealed specs and details of the HR-V, its entrant to the compact crossover segment dominated by cars such as the Nissan Juke. The HR-V is a halfway house between the two classes, as it competes with the Renault Captur but offers interior space more akin to a Nissan Qashqai.

Inside, the ‘Magic seats’ we first saw in the Jazz reappeared, along with an Android-based touchscreen infotainment system from the Civic. Honda confirmed that the HR-V would be front-wheel drive only in the UK, with a choice of 1.5 petrol

March

Aston stuns Geneva with racy SUV concept

March means one thing: the Geneva Motor Show – and one of the star acts was from Britain. Aston Martin rocked up and unveiled plans to add an SUV to its line-up.

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The DBX concept stood out next to the 800bhp Vulcan and Vantage GT3 on the Aston stand, and CEO Andy Palmer said it previews a clear vision for the company’s future, which includes a McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari supercar rival.

Aston Martin DB10 review

The DBX mixes styling from the bespoke DB10 created for the James Bond film, Spectre, with traditional SUV hallmarks like a raised ride height. The concept has a three-door bodyshell, but the production model will be a five-door.

The big news was that instead of Aston Martin’s usual fare of V8s and V12s, the DBX has an electric powertrain, which the brand said will deliver a Tesla-rivalling range of 300 miles. 

Cactus named Carbuyer Car of the Year

Our sister website Carbuyer.co.uk revealed its Car of the Year in March, and the coveted award went to the Citroen C4 Cactus. The quirky hatch was honoured for its great value, low running costs and practicality. Picking up the award at the Geneva Motor Show, a delighted Citroen CEO Linda Jackson said: “Recognition like this validates our belief that Citroen is getting it right.”

Honda unveils 306bhp Civic Type R

After months of frustrating teaser images, Honda finally revealed its production-ready Civic Type R at the Geneva Motor Show. And it was immediately obvious that the hot hatch was no shrinking violet,with spoilers, bodykits and vents.

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Honda Civic Type R review

The interior is also much racier than before, but the big news was the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which produces a mammoth 306bhp.

April

Readers vote Lexus their Driver Power No. 1

The Lexus IS Mk3 was crowned the best car to own in Driver Power after a record-breaking 61,000 owners filled in our 2015 satisfaction survey. It knocked the ever-dependable Skoda Yeti off top spot for the first time in three years.

Take part in the 2016 Driver Power Survey right HERE

Lexus’ compact exec dominated the rankings, scoring highly for ease of driving, ride quality, reliability and build quality. The Yeti and Hyundai i10 rounded off the top three, while electric cars also featured in the top 10 for the first time, in the shape of the Renault ZOE and Nissan Leaf.

A total of 75 new models entered the chart – more than a third of the Top 200. The biggest riser was the Audi A5 Sportback, up 80 places, while Toyota had the most models in the Top 200, with 13. It wasn’t such good news for SEAT’s Leon Mk2, this year’s biggest faller, from 65th to 192nd. Our survey also revealed some key market trends, with 47 SUVs in the Top 200, as well as 43 superminis, but MPVs were barely represented.

McLaren debuts 911 rival

McLaren’s resurgence started with the MP4-12C (now 650S) back in 2011. This was followed bythe hybrid P1 hypercar last year, and in April the brand debuted the 570S – a sports car designed to compete with the Audi R8 and all-conquering Porsche 911.

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It uses a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 with 562bhp. That’s less than the 650S, and 10bhp down on the new 911 Turbo S, but it’ll still do 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and hit 204mph. The 570S gets a lightweight construction courtesy of a carbon-fibre MonoCell chassis.

McLaren says the newcomer is intended to be a more usable car than the company’s other offerings, with a decent boot in the nose and adaptive dampers providing superior comfort. The 570S was the firstcar in the manufacturer’s Sport Series range. McLaren bosses hope it’ll help the brand sell 2,500 cars a year.

May

Dawn of a new era as Rolls reveals drop-top name

The news that Rolls-Royce is launching a new car is always big as it doesn’t happen very often. And in May we learned the name of Rolls’ latest model: Dawn. 

As with every other Rolls-Royce in the range, the badge is steeped in history. Dawn harks back to an incredibly rare car – only 28 Silver Dawn Cabriolets were built back in 1949. The name was revealed to us by the CEO of Rolls-Royce, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, who confirmed it would be attached to an elegant two-door convertible which would go on sale early in 2016. 

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At the time, Müller-Ötvös described the Dawn as “the most social of super-luxury motor cars for those beautiful people who wish to bathe in the sunlight of the world’s social hotspots”. 

It was only the name that was revealed, though – we’d have to wait until the Frankfurt show in September for the finished product. However, our exclusive image proved to be a dead ringer for the production version. And while it looks just like a drop-top version of the Wraith, the Dawn’s bodywork is 80 per cent different from the coupé’s.

Copycats out in force at Shanghai show

The Shanghai Motor Show never disappoints when it comes to interesting cars, and this year again saw Chinese designers bending copyright rules

Easily the chief culprit of the show’s copycat cars was the Landwind X7, which required a close look before we realised it wasn’t a Range Rover Evoque. Other copies included the Smart ForTwo-inspired Zotye E30, the Hongqi LS5 (Range Rover) and the Eagle sports car, which combined a Porsche Cayman with a Ferrari F12.

June

Bentley sports car hogs the limelight

Bentley stole the headlines at March’s Geneva Motor Show with its stunning EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. Auto Express then followed the sports car around the globe as the company took it on tour to see whether there was the market to sell it.

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler went to New York and later Shanghai, and along the way spoke to those involved. The car got quite a reception, and by November Bentley was talking about putting it into production with electric power.

BMW's tribute to 3.0 CSL

BMW showcased the CSL Hommage at Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event. A spiritual successor to the iconic seventies 3.0 CSL, it had undisclosed eBoost tech and a lightweight i8-inspired body. It’s a concept, yet BMW hinted a production model might be coming, saying: “Our Hommage cars not only demonstrate how proud we are of our heritage, but how important the past can be in determiningthe future.”

So that's the first half of 2015 done! Click below to see more of the biggest news stories of the year!

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