A Ferrari soft-roader? It’ll be a very fast soft-roader, and one that may even introduce the Maranello wail to Dubai’s Big Red, a huge, shifting sand dune that needs traction and torque in spades to be successfully crested.
But a maker of cars designed to go as fast as possible to point B from point A, a maker that has forever harnessed the benefits of Tarmac-skimming centres of gravity and sylphic frontal areas does not sound like a maker of vehicles featuring neither of these desirables. Still, a Ferrari SUV really is coming and it’s likely to be as far removed from a WW2 Jeep as a smartphone is from a red telephone box.
It’s also what the market wants and accurately judging that fickle arena of desire has produced a lengthy lineup of cars that, at one time, would have been unthinkable progeny for their creators. Some have been jarring additions to their makers’ ranges. Some have fallen from grace with equally jarring effect. And others, unexpectedly, have become lynchpins for their makers. Here’s a selection of the most notable.
What we said then: “Rolls has, like Porsche did with the first Cayenne, tried to put clear Rolls-Royce cues into the design. Maybe they just don’t translate to an SUV, or maybe we’re just not used to it yet.”
The market demanded an SUV of Rolls-Royce and the market got it. An off-roading Rolls-Royce is not such an alien idea. The robustness of the early cars meant they were frequently used off road in Arabia, courtesy of Lawrence, and as armoured cars during WW1. But as with the first Cayenne, the Cullinan’s look is troubling.
What we said then: “To the majority of buyers of today’s conventional city cars, the launch of the new Aston Martin Cygnet must rank as one of the daftest this century.”
Apart from hijacking the innards of a Morgan three-wheeler, Toyota’s cubist iQ has to be one of the unlikeliest building blocks for an Aston Martin. Apparently the result of a (surely fevered) conversation between the bosses of these companies, the Cygnet struggled to find takers but, perversely, has become sought after now since deletion.