For car fans everywhere, 2016 has been a year full of landmark events, significant advancements in car technology and huge new car releases.
It’s also been an incredibly healthy year for car production. In July there was a reported boom in the UK car industry, in which car production surpassed a million vehicles in the first seven months of the year. This is something that has not been achieved since 2004.
This year we have also seen manufacturers expand their ranges more broadly and invest heavily in the projects of the future.
So as the year draws to a close, we look back on the highlights of an incredibly exciting and innovative year in the motoring world.
2016 was a terrific year for car shows big and small. The prestigious Geneva Motor Show set the standard in early March, revealing some of the year’s best and rarest cars to the world, such as the Lamborghini Centenario.
In the UK, we saw the return of a major car show after an eight year hiatus, in the form of the London Motor Show. Highlights included the BLOODHOUND SSC, a supersonic car that can travel faster than the speed of sound.
All eyes were then on the Paris Motor Show in October, where we were treated to the unveiling of the cars to look out for in 2017, such as the all-new Honda Civic, the Land Rover Discovery 5 and the concept cars that will shape the future of motoring.
Each year these major Motor Shows provide a platform for some of the biggest car releases, and 2016 has been full of them.
The eagerly awaited Aston Martin DB11 was released this year to rave reviews, while McLaren also weighed in on the 2016 supercar market with the practical, yet ferocious, addition to their Sports Series, the 570GT.
A more surprising transition to the convertible came from the Range Rover Evoque as the world’s first premium compact convertible SUV.
And the SUV market itself has continued to grow this year. The Maserati Levante, Jaguar F-Pace and the ŠKODA Kodiaq are the first of their kind offered by their respective brands which is emblematic of the huge popularity and competition within the current SUV market.
It’s not just the new cars which made 2016 a memorable year. This year has seen some incredible concept designs revealed to the public by manufacturers and have been a fascinating insight to the realistic possibilities of car production. This year the trend seemed to focus on electric cars.
One of the most intriguing concepts this year was the all-electric Mercedes-Maybach 6 which is almost six metres long and takes design influences from luxury yachts.
Volkswagen and Mercedes both revealed significant all-electric concepts in the form of the I.D. and EQ models respectively and these were also accompanied by plans by both brands to release full ranges of all-electric models within the next five years. This is a significant step for all-electric vehicles reaching a mass market.
We’ve seen visible evidence of brands shifting towards electric car production on a much larger scale. Definitely watch this space.
2016 could also prove to be a defining year for the development of driverless cars, which have been another focus of car news throughout the year.
This year we’ve seen more and more tech giants and car manufacturers shifting towards driverless technology and investing huge amounts of money into research and development.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for driverless cars though, with some high-profile setbacks. But with companies such as Apple and Uber getting in on the act this year, the signs certainly suggest that driverless cars are here to stay.
This year we saw the much-talked-about return of Top Gear, with an all-new line-up of presenters headed up by Chris Evans and Matt le Blanc. It was always going to be difficult for the new team replacing Jeremy Clarkson and co, but it was mostly business as usual thanks to the latest generation of high profile guests, magnificent vehicles and epic locations.
But this didn’t stop Clarkson, Hammond and May going full throttle for their new show, The Grand Tour, which started on Amazon Prime in November. The new show sees the ex-Top Gear hosts doing what they do best: travelling from country to country, whilst driving and reviewing the latest and rarest cars from all over the world in the process. The Grand Tour will run for 12 episodes into February 2017.