From the most powerful Ferrari in history to brand new Saabs being sent to the crushers by receivers, the car industry had enough big news stories in 2012 to stay firmly in the headlines in spite of a Diamond Jubilee and a home Olympics.
Web traffic on Autocar this year has smashed all previous records, and below are your top 10 most viewed news stories outside of motor shows from the last 12 months.
The new Range Rover was by far and away the biggest news story and most in-demand new car on the Autocar website this year (three of the top five most looked at news stories had ‘Range Rover’ in the headline). After frequent spy shots throughout the first eight months of the year gradually stripped away the camouflage and Land Rover bosses teased info on what was to come, the new Range Rover was finally officially seen at the Royal Ballet School in Richmond Park in August before its full reveal at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
Intriguingly, it was the details of the Golf’s new MQB platform and engine line-up in February that was looked at more by Autocar readers than the full reveal of the car at the Paris motor show in September (although there wasn’t much in it). February’s news story revealed for the first time the sheer scale and adaptability of the MQB platform, something that will underpin the core of the Volkswagen Group’s small to mid-size models for a decade.
For almost two decades we have waited for a successor to the iconic McLaren F1, a supercar widely regarded as perhaps the finest of all time. That moment arrived in the weeks before the Paris motor show, when, the first pictures and sketchy initial details of the P1 were released. Subsequent spy pictures have revealed the design of the P1 concept will largely carryover to production, but we’ll have to wait until the Geneva motor show in March to find out just what lies beneath the P1’s skin.
The Macan has to yet to be seen beyond official Porsche design sketches, but Autocar’s scoop in April revealed some of Porsche’s new Audi Q5-based SUV’s secrets. The highlight beneath the bonnet of the Macan will be a new twin-turbo V6 petrol engine in the range-topper with as much as 370bhp. At the other end of the engine range will be four-cylinder units, not seen in a Porsche since the 968 in the mid-1990s.
The Mercedes A-class was one of the stars of the Geneva motor show in March, and interest in the new Audi A3 rival certainly didn’t wane in the weeks and months after the show. In late March, we published full spec details and a comprehensive picture gallery of the new hatch, which went onto become the most read A-class news story of the year. On this evidence, expect the AMG version – the A45 AMG due for reveal in March – to make the news highlights of 2013 list.
Fresh from Saab’s demise in late December, a succession of bad news stories followed in January as the company was carved up by receivers. It was news that up to 100 Saabs were to be sent to the crushers that prompted the biggest response from readers, both in terms of web traffic and outpouring of emotion on the Autocar forum. Among the new Saabs that met an untimely end were examples of the 9-5 estate and 9-4X SUV.
The F12, successor to the Ferrari 599, was one of the supercar hits of 2012. In its public debut a few days before the Geneva motor show in March, Autocar readers ogled over its looks and drooled over its spec sheet on the forums like few other cars this year – more than 200 comments were passed on the new 730bhp V12-powered F12. Buyers liked it to, as Ferrari reported taking more than 360 deposits on the car on the Geneva motor show stand, before any test drives.
It was the sole first image released by Jaguar of the new F-type that got the greatest response from online Autocar readers this year on Jaguar’s decades-in-the-making sports car. An early reveal of the F-type on a US website forced Jaguar into making official a sole image of the car, although full details were to remain a mystery until the Paris motor show a week later. Most loved the looks, a few didn’t, but what wasn’t questioned was the idea of a contemporary Jaguar sports car making a return to showrooms after a near 40-year hiatus when the iconic E-type departed.
Hilton Holloway dramatically laid bare every new Land Rover model due over the next decade, which will help the firm double its sales by 2020 as part of the biggest investment the UK car industry has ever seen. More Range Rovers, a new Defender family and expanded Freelander line-up were among the biggest revelations, with the most intriguing new model perhaps a new four-metre long baby Range Rover.
This year has been a quiet one for Alfa as it gears up for the launch of the 4C next year, the start of a new model blitz that will give Alfa’s model line-up much needed strength in depth beyond its current tiny two-car range. The most important of all the models will be a BMW 3-series rival currently known as Giulia. Extensively detailed by Hilton Holloway in August, the new Giulia will be offered as both a saloon and an estate and is now close to being finally signed off by Alfa bosses following lengthy delays.